Jenny Zervis eats what she wants to eat. It makes her happy.
A tall, thin woman with black hair, Zervis said she likes to chow down and exercises to compensate for what she eats.
“It’s worth it,” she said. “I want to able to be happy.”
Zervis, who lives in Richmond Hill with her husband Gavriel and two daughters, has a daily exercise routine that usually includes yoga or Pilates. But this week, she added a new work out to her routine – running.
Zervis signed up for a 12-week “Learn to Run” program at the YMCA in Richmond Hill, where she is a member. Until March 25, she will be learning the benefits of running and how to do it properly so she doesn’t hurt herself.
“I’m really eager to do it,” she said.
The class, held every Friday morning from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. at the YMCA, is being taught by veteran fitness instructor Shannon GaNun. She taught this running class in the fall and wanted to introduce again since people tend to make New Year’s resolutions to be healthier.
“So many people out there want to learn how to run but don’t know how to start,” she said. The goal of the class is to teach people how to run safely and effectively and how to live a healthier lifestyle.
The program starts out slow. At the first class Friday, around 12 participants walked for two minutes and ran for one minute and worked on their cadence in the industrial park next to the YMCA. As the weeks progress, GaNun said she’ll add some drills and by the end of the class, participants will be able to run for 40 minutes without stopping.
She’s following a program in the book “The Beginning Runner’s Handbook: The Proven 13-Week Walk-Run Program” by Ian MacNeill.
“People who don’t think they can run can run if they follow this program and stick with it,” GaNun said.
Class participants are expected to run at least one more day a week. Zervis said she’s working in two days a week on a treadmill.
Running seems like an exercise that’s easy to do. It works the cardiovascular, muscular and skeletal system, GaNun said. A person’s cardiovascular system adapts quickly, so people feel they can run faster and longer right away.
But muscles and bones don’t get used to physical activity as quickly as the heart and lungs. People get sore, or hurt, and stop running, GaNun explained.
“While it seems simple, it’s important to start slowly and follow a program so you don’t hurt yourself,” she said.
Running is good for the mind and the body, GaNun said. It burns fat, builds muscle and increases metabolism. She runs to keep herself healthy.
“That’s the funny thing, I don’t consider myself a runner,” she said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, adults need 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or 1.25 hours per week of high-intensity aerobic activitiy, such as running, to improve health.
Zervis, who is self-employed and turns 37 at the end of the month, said she has conquered Pilates and yoga, but she’s never been able to master running.
“I’ve always given up,” she said.
Her goal is simple: Zervis wants to run a half-marathon. She said she wants to be able to continue running. Her plan is to run in the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon in November.
After Friday’s first class, Zervis wrote in an e-mail that the class was amazing and she is “pumped up.”
“I am headed for a marathon for sure!!!” she wrote.
GaNun is a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with more than 20 years of experience. She is also the director of communications and membership at the Ford Plantation. The Bryan County News will continue to track Zervis’ running and will feature her again when the class concludes in March.