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June Athlete of the Month - Kimya Harris

Feb 23, 2021

Fitness has always been a part Kimya Harris’ life; she even remembers turning her recesses into exercise sessions. 

“I would use the uneven bars on the playground to do flips, hip circles, pullovers, and more, and then after dinner every night I would put a record on my little record player and dance, and then I'd hike up this steep hill and sprint back home.”

Eventually, those playground exercises turned into a profession for this 43-year-old mother of three. 

“I started teaching group fitness classes at the YMCA about 8 years ago, and eventually became an instructor in the Wichita State University ‘human performance’ program where I taught five different one-credit-hour classes,” she said. “It was an amazing experience meeting so many students from all around the world, many of which I'm still friends with.”

Kimya believes years of overuse began to take a toll on her body and mind. 

“Things like getting out of the car, doing cardio for longer than a few minutes, sitting cross-legged, looking up at the sky, even bathing, had all become too painful to do,” she said. “Chiropractic care up to 3 times a week, a round of physical therapy at a chain clinic, MRI and X-rays trying to figure out what was wrong all resulted in little change. My doctor had literally referred me to a pain-management center as a last resort, but I never went; I didn't want to resign myself to being on prescription medication the rest of my life, and probably addicted to them as well.”

After getting a good vibe from a Facebook promotion she viewed as different and promising, Kimya scheduled an appointment with Natural Wellness Physiotherapy. 

“The rest is history. I am doing everything I once thought I'd never be able to do again. A healthy, pain-free body is something most of us take for granted until we no longer have one. I'm grateful that I now look forward to my days and my nights.”

Kimya’s favorite activity to stay fit is group exercise. 

“There's just an energy present when more than one or two people are all focused on the same thing. Even when I choose home workouts on YouTube, I choose ones with a group. I also tend to pick the same ones because I kind of get to know them. I’ll literally be like ‘Hey, Marvin, I see you!’ to the TV.”

While she doesn’t view herself as a runner, she is proud of running a 5k without stopping and without training for it. Kimya’s next fitness goal is to start teaching more physically demanding classes again. 

Exercise has become a habit for her, which means she always does something to move each day. 

“I also exercise because I love the way I feel when I do,” she said. “It's like loving on myself from the inside out, and I legit feel that love. I also exercise to be an example to my family and friends. My daughter works out in her room every night, and my 70 year old mom texts me a selfie every day after her workout with a ‘done’ caption.”

People comment to Kimya, "I wish I liked to workout" all the time. Her advice? 

“Start with something small! Challenge yourself to walk in place during the commercial breaks. One good thing leads to more good things. 

She also believes in treating yourself and talking to yourself like you would your best friend. 

“I would NEVER tell a friend ‘your workout wasn't long or hard enough’ so why do that to myself? A quote I love says something like ‘Why don't you start giving yourself the love you keep trying to give to everyone else?’”

In case you can’t tell from the photo of her hanging upside-down, Kimya loves to have fun and embraces her child-like spirit.  

“I watch cartoons more than my kids. I love cartoons, and detective shows from the 70s and 80s. I have seen every episode of Scooby-Doo, Spongebob, Colombo and Murder She Wrote many many times.”

One thing she’s always wanted to do is go skydiving. 

“I let the thought alone be enough for me because all kinds of dreadful scenarios have come to mind when thinking of actually doing it. Today, one of the ladies who used to come to my seniors’ fitness class posted a picture of her skydiving 5 years ago; she had done it for her 70th birthday! I thought to myself, ‘Ok, now what was your excuse again?’”

We love Kimya’s attitude and dedication to lifelong fitness!