UM Recreation Services testimonial: Kathleen Glover
Exercise is the best medication, says Glover, who confronted serious health conditions by going to the gym
Kathleen Glover, a PhD student in medical microbiology and infectious diseases, fell ill in 2020 and was admitted to the hospital. She explains that choosing to treat her illness by getting active and going to the gym was life changing—it meant she could seize every day, move, be active, and trust that her body would support her in doing the things she loved. This journey wasn’t easy. It required that Glover commit herself whole-heartedly to attending the gym regularly and meeting certain targets during her workouts. She explains that the Joe Doupe Recreation Centre and it’s supportive staff have been integral throughout this process. Glover says that determination, focus and support are key factors in achieving health and fitness targets.
“I want to have a life where I can wake up in the morning and see the sun and be so happy and so full of joy. So, don’t be discouraged, know that life is beautiful, you can enjoy it by being focused and being determined. Nothing on this earth cannot be achieved.”
Tell us a bit about yourself—how did you come to get involved with UM Recreation Services?
So, I recently finished my PhD in medical microbiology and infectious diseases, Virology was my major. I wasn’t that involved with UM Recreation Services at the beginning of my PhD. I started in 2016 and I wasn’t going to the gym so much or working out. In 2020 I fell very sick, I was very sick, I was admitted in the hospital, and I remember when I was there one of the things that the doctor actually told me was that I could choose two paths. One was to live a life whereby I could be healthy by exercising, eating well, avoiding certain things. Or I could live a life dependent on certain medications. So, I didn’t want that for myself. I knew how difficult that kind of life could be. So, I started being very committed to the gym. I think I had a routine of going four times a week and I saw a very drastic change in my health. The doctors took me off certain medications that I was put on at the beginning and I was discharged. And then, it’s been since 2020 to today. So that’s how I got so, so, so involved in it.
What’s your schedule like now?
I try to go maybe 5 times a week. I think after Covid when we came back from the lockdown, I was trying to go almost every day, and my doctor said I should take it easy, it’s not the best. So, I reduced it to going 3 to 4 times a week, sometimes 5 depending on how my body feels.
What do you like about the Joe Doupe Recreation Centre?
One thing that I like about it is one, its convenience, because it’s already in the building where I have my research going on, and it’s also very close to where I live. So convenience is one. And then also the facilities meet my workout targets and my workout needs.
I think one thing that really struck me during Covid was the instructor, the supervisor that was present. She’s so nice. I remember there have been times where I want to do my wrap-up, where I want to have 5 minutes just to wrap up. She doesn’t just drive me out of the place, she’s very understanding, very considerate. Yeah, I think basically the machines and the group workout sessions. I joined the Wednesdays and the Tuesdays and Thursdays and it’s amazing, very amazing. I think the workout instructor for the group workout sessions is so amazing, she doesn’t focus on one person, she goes around. Like, I remember last week I was doing it wrong and she came around and said: “Kathy do it this way,” so her concern and interest in the participants is really great.
What did it mean for you to be supported by UM Recreation Services while working to improve your health condition?
Honestly, with the life I wanted to live, after that horrible experience I went through when I was sick, having those facilities that would meet that objective, that goal that I wanted to attain, meant a lot to me. I remember when we went in the lockdown, the programs brought the directive that it was going to be a lockdown of the gyms and I was very down. I was like: “I’m on a mission, and this phase of lockdown is going to stall my mission to some extent,” so when the gym opened I was super excited because I knew it all was going towards meeting my ultimate goal, which is to work out and stay healthy. So, it’s more tied to my health and being able to make sure that I don’t deviate from the ultimate goal. So, the gym contributed immensely to that. Every time I went, I’m sweating and I check the cardio machines that read the caloric target for the day I feel so fulfilled, like I’ve accomplished something that day.
What would you say to someone who is struggling to motivate themselves to use the facilities?
That’s a good question. For me, I could have wallowed in my misery, I could have been sad, and asked myself why. But what I told myself was that having this pity party wouldn’t add anything to my life, it wouldn’t change what is happening. So, staying focused and knowing that you can enjoy that beauty in life by being focused and being determined is always the key. Because I told myself that I didn’t want to be one who can’t take two steps and then I have to sit down. I don’t want to be one who after working so hard I would now be dependent on medications and therapy just to move, or just to survive. I want to have a life where I can wake up in the morning and see the sun and be so happy and so full of joy. So, don’t be discouraged, know that life is beautiful, you can enjoy it by being focused and being determined. Nothing on this earth cannot be achieved. Let me put it this way, nothing in this world is impossible to achieve once you are determined and focused.