Welcome to our first spotlight educator for #WhyIExercise. I’m so proud to introduce Michael Courington, a K-5 elementary principal from Illinois. Michael is transitioning into his first year as principal after being the vice- principal for five years, an RTI interventionist, and a fourth grade teacher. He was born in Melrose and raised in River Grove, Illinois. After earning his undergraduate degree from Elmhurst College, he has since received two master's degrees. On Twitter, you can find him @MrCourington53.
Let’s take a peek at Michael’s story.
My father was a habitual exerciser. I have memories of him sitting at the kitchen table with an orange juice and a banana lacing up his gym shoes before sunrise. He would workout every morning before work. He introduced me to tennis at age 5 and always had time for a game of catch, tennis, or simply holding the football for me while I attempted to kick it through imaginary uprights. I fell in love with lifting weights around 8th grade. I went into High School wrestling at 103 lbs so lifting weights was a way for me to put on some size. It wasn’t long before I was in the gym every day after school. As an adult, I now find myself at the kitchen table before sunrise with a coffee lacing up my gym shoes.
Exercise is my lifeline. The reason I move every day is simply out of habit at this point, but I am reminded of the “why” when I have to miss a day for any reason. I do not operate the same on days when I can’t exercise. I find my energy levels are lower and my mood is off. I read “The Happiness Advantage” last year and exercise ranks among the top 5 things a person can do to raise their levels of happiness. I enjoy sharing smiles and positive energy with those around me. Exercise is one of my methods for maintaining a positive outlook on life.
My philosophy is pretty simple. I have to sweat . . . every day.
I love riding my bike (106 miles in one day is my biggest achievement). I dig running shorter distances (9 miles is my longest run). I still love lifting weights at the gym. I do indoor rock climbing. I have a 50 lb sandbag that I use every now and then. It is safe to say that my approach to fitness is rather eclectic, but the rule that remains the same . . . sweat every day.
I do not watch what I eat too closely. I do enjoy a daily AM shake that is filled with greens, carrots, fruit, and protein powder.
Fitness permeates every aspect of my life as a professional. A school leader must have high energy levels to carry out the demands of the job. Furthermore, the Spartans (our students) expect and deserve me to smile, project positivity, and be someone they can count on. I try to leave “my stuff” at the door and a focus on fitness helps me do that.
Personal: I have joined the #SixtyBooks movement on Twitter and have set the goal of reading sixty books by 12/31/16. I’m currently on book 36, “Mindset” by Carol Dweck. Exercising the mind is important too!
Professional: My goals are simple: to educate, serve, and care for the children each day they are in the halls and classrooms. To be a model of the Spartan Code and to instill in our students the value of being respectful, responsible, and their best every day with everyone. Always make decisions with the question, “Is this best for kids?” in mind.
Athletic: Sean Thom has inspired me to return to the obstacle races. I have a goal to complete a Spartan Race in 2017.
My one word is SPARTAN. Read more about it on my blog.
I'd like to personally thank Michael for sharing his story with us. We all have different functions in education, but nurturing and educating children remains the same. Michael's positive approach to both his physical and mental health is sure to inspire many. And . . . good luck on your Spartan Run! You'll have to check back in with us to let us know how it goes.
As Michael reminded us, remember your "why".
Marilyn . . .
If you're interested, my bio can be found in the "About" page.
As educators, we know the importance fitness has on both our bodies and minds. This blog is a celebration of educators and the role exercise plays in our lives.