Mid-Missouri residents start health and fitness journeys amid pandemic

Some mid-Missouri residents chose to use the isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns to get themselves into peak physical health.

Many around the world have taken on the challenge of getting into shape both during and following the lockdowns. And the focus isn’t just on weight — increasing numbers of people are looking for healthy lifestyles, not just smaller waists or flatter stomachs.

It’s a more complete, and less superficial, approach to health that recognizes different bodies need different things.

More than half of Americans are trying to lose or manage their weight, according to a study conducted in March by Reach3 Insights provided to USA TODAY. About 48% of respondents were trying to eat less; 24% were using a weight-loss or fitness app; and 23% were on a special diet or nutritional drinks or shakes.

For Sam Fleury, Kerrie Bloss and James Melton — each with their own journey to better health — losing weight was just one aspect of their individual journeys to healthier eating, exercise and awareness of their value.

‘Tired of being tired’

Sam Fleury walked on the Jefferson High School track with his wife and mother-in-law to lose weight during the pandemic. Fleury is down about 55 pounds from his heaviest weight, he said.

Sam Fleury, a spokesman for Columbia College, lives in Jefferson City. During the pandemic, he found himself working from home.

“That shortened my commute — and I had some time to commit to exercise,” Fleury said.

It took him a little time, he said.

“When the pandemic hit in March 2020, my wife and mother-in-law started walking every morning,” he said. “After about a month, I decided to join them.”