Emerson employee credits routine, dedication to healthier lifestyle

Mike Arens had a choice to make when he started getting some joint pains in his leg. Either hope it goes away or do something about it. 

He chose to be proactive and it led to an overall health journey that has resulted in losing 60 pounds in the past five months.

“I started doing physical therapy at the beginning of the year and decided I was going to dedicate myself to getting back in shape as well,” said Arens, a member at the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA who works at Emerson as an IT Support Analyst. “So, I work out for an hour or so pretty much every day and then do another hour of physical therapy trying to strengthen my leg muscles.” 

Arens recently was the first to complete the Coast to Coast Challenge which had Marshalltown Y members use exercise minutes to mythically travel from New York to Los Angeles. While it will take many six to seven weeks to complete the challenge, the Ames resident reached L.A. in just three weeks.

He likes the many options to exercise at the Y and often uses the elliptical machines, leg curl and leg extension machines, free weights and more. 

“I enjoy the variety of equipment and workout spaces available to me at the Y,” he said. “The Marshalltown Y has the best lap pool I’ve ever had access to as well.”

Arens said his leg issues have improved, but he remains a “work in progress.”

He said the key to his increased health and wellness is being dedicated to making the time for his exercise.

“I find that what’s best for me is to find something that works, dedicate the time and stick with it,” he said. “I will say it’s not easy getting started, but if you stay dedicated you’ll start seeing results and you’ll want more.”

Mike Arens was the first to complete the Coast to Coast exercise challenge at the Y.