charity miles

Humana Health Star: Elizabeth Watson

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Our Humana Health Star for the month of October is Elizabeth Watson from Richmond, VA. In 2010 Elizabeth lost her mother to Alzheimer’s Disease. Ever since her mother’s diagnosis Elizabeth has been advocating for Alzheimer’s Association. She runs for Team in Training, served on the Committee for Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and she logs Charity Miles for them. Read more about how this woman is motivating herself and her community.


Name: Elizabeth Watson

Age: 45

State: Richmond, VA

What’s your favorite way to stay active? Running

What charities do you like to support with Charity Miles? There are so many wonderful charities that Charity Miles supports, but the main charity I run for is the Alzheimer’s Association. I also like to support Wounded Warriors and Special Olympics.

Where is your favorite place to walk, run or bike? My favorite place to run is along the James River in Richmond, Virginia.

Where is one place you’d most like to walk, run or bike that you haven’t yet? My dream would be to run the Boston Marathon.

What do you do to help your family/community get active? I like to share what I have learned about the benefits of daily exercise (especially walking and running) with my friends and family, not only as it relates to the overall wellness program, but how it is also associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline.  Cardiovascular exercise elevates the heart rate, which increases the blood flow to the brain and body, providing additional nourishment while reducing potential dementia risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

I have also served on the Committee for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s as a volunteer for the past four years – promoting this event, fundraising, and recruiting walkers. Of, course, I try to encourage everyone I know to use the Charity Miles app.  The physical activity you are engaging in to keep yourself healthy can also benefit others.

Do you have any tips for others on how to take steps toward improving their well-being? It is never too late to start making healthy choices.  I would encourage others to find an activity they enjoy.  If you can find others to join you, that makes it even more enjoyable.

Do you like to run alone or with friends? I prefer to exercise with friends.

What is your favorite workout song? When I run, I enjoy the company of others and the natural surroundings. I do enjoy the musical performances during the Richmond Marathon. It is always motivating to hear “Eye of the Tiger,” for example, when you feel like you are hitting the wall.

Are you training for anything? I am currently training for the Richmond Marathon on November 14th. This will be my 8th marathon.

What are your health and fitness goals? I would like to continue running and staying healthy.  I am currently at 976.63 miles since I began using the Charity Miles app.  I look forward to surpassing 1,000 miles in the next couple of weeks.

Are there any of the recipes on Humana’s Pinterest that you would like to try? I love spicy food and would like to try the Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos recipe.

What is one thing that Humana can do to help you live a healthier lifestyle? I appreciate Humana’s support of Charity Miles and the many worthy charities both thereby support.  Supporting those charities by using the Charity Miles app is further motivation for me to stay active. The workout tips and healthy recipes Humana shares on Pinterest help me live a healthier lifestyle.

What’s the best health advice you have ever received? Try your best to get as much sleep as possible.  Lack of sleep affects health, memory, and mood.

Humana believes that everyone has a unique health and well-being story. What is yours? It’s never too late to start making healthy choices. I began running when I was 36 years old.  At that time, I had already lost my grandmother and aunt to Alzheimer’s Disease.  In addition to working full-time, I was caring for my Mom who also had Alzheimer’s Disease.  Running is a great stress reliever and there is a great deal of stress involved in caregiving.  In the earlier stages of the disease, my Mom would see me dressed in my running clothes early on weekend mornings when I was getting ready to run with the SportsBackers Marathon Training Team and she would ask, “Are you going running?”  When I responded that I was indeed going running, she would beam with excitement.  I believe she was happy that I was doing something good for my own health, in addition to feeling satisfied, she still was able to determine what was going on around her.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. It is the only cause of death in the top 10 in the U.S., that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed.  Staying physically and socially active are factors within my control that could reduce my risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  There are no guarantees, of course, but these are things that benefit my health in other ways, anyway.  Running is my favorite way of staying physically and socially active.  I am currently training for my 8th marathon (if I can do it, you can, too :)).

I lost my Mom in 2010.  When the long runs become difficult, I think of how hard my Mom struggled with Alzheimer’s disease and she gives me strength. I am so very thankful that Charity Miles chose the Alzheimer’s Association as one of its charities.  Thanks to Humana and other generous sponsors, we can participate in fulfilling the Alzheimer’s Association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.  I hope you will consider donating some of your miles to the Alzheimer’s Association.  If you enjoy walking, I hope you will join us in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  To find a Walk in your area, or for more information about Alzheimer’s and related dementias, please visit #ENDALZ #Walk2EndAlz #EveryMileMatters #SebStrong

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