How long is your weekly commute? Twenty-five, 50, maybe even 100 miles?
Ever consider walking or biking it?
That’s precisely what health fitness specialist student Theresa Salzwedel does every week to the estimated tune of 75 miles.
“I have a passion for life, a passion for health and fitness and a passion to get up every day and keep moving,” Salzwedel said.
After learning more about her, nobody can doubt that.
Salzwedel started her daily treks in 2001 after her divorce. Her fitness career started in 2004 at the Downtown Minneapolis YWCA where she assumed roles as head lifeguard, assistant aquatic coordinator, and fitness instructor specializing in the Silver Sneakers program.
“I lived in New Brighton at that time,” Salzwedel said. “No buses ran there that early in the morning, so I had to walk from my apartment to the bus stop in St. Anthony Village.”
For those keeping track, that’s 3.1 miles.
“I had to walk there at 3:30 or 4 a.m. because I had to be there to open the building by 5:30. Buses stopped at 6:30 p.m., so I had to make it to the stop by that time if I didn’t want to walk again.”
In 2008, she took a second job teaching an aquatics class with the New Brighton Parks and Recreation before landing at LA Fitness in New Brighton. She now works at the Blaine and New Brighton locations, teaching any and all fitness classes assigned to her. She often walks or bikes from her Fridley apartment to both locations.
That’s round trips of nearly five (New Brighton) and 12 miles (Blaine).
“I walk most of the time; it keeps me calm,” Salzwedel said.
After budget cuts at the YWCA left her jobless, she decided to pursue her passion for fitness by enrolling at the Minnesota School of Business-Plymouth Campus (MSB). She buses from Fridley, stops in downtown Minneapolis and reaches a Wayzata bus stop, which is a two-mile walk or ride from MSB.
“I just like the people here [at MSB]” said Salzwedel. “They really care about me. If people see me walking [from the bus stop to school] they always check on me when I get here. I have good people on my side at the school.”
She has also given back using her health experience by starting a faith and fitness ministry program at Greater Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where she works alongside fellow MSB graduate Bill Jernigan.
“I usually work with the women three times per week,” said Salzwedel. On top of that, she implemented a gospel zumba class as well.
Her goals after graduation include opening a nonprofit designed to help low-income families make healthy life decisions together as a unit.
“It all starts at home,” Salzwedel said. “If those families can be healthy together, they’re more likely to stick together.”
If there’s one thing that families and communities can learn from her, it’s sticking to a plan.