Building a Fitness Foundation

The majority of Alex Cramer’s workday is spent sitting at her desk. The contracts administrator for Facilities, Design and Construction (FDC) crafts and creates written pledges for various projects on campus.

It’s a similar story throughout her office. Cramer says FDC employees spend a lot of time on the phone and in meetings.

“I want everyone in the office to be able to step away from the stress of their job for a moment,” Cramer said.

The lack of physical activity has prompted the Buckeye Wellness Innovator to plan a steps challenge for her coworkers through Ohio State’s Your Plan for Health program this summer.

She’s challenging staff to team up in small groups. The team that tallies the most steps in a month will receive a prize.

“It’s great to walk away and relieve stress through physical activity,” Cramer said.

We first introduced you to Alex in 2019. She founded the Healthy Lunch Club for her fellow employees. They’d meet at a local health food restaurant, which provided a nutritious alternative to lunch menus and a chance to connect socially.

Cramer became a Wellness Innovator after accepting the position with Ohio State almost four years ago. Her predecessor was well-established in the role and she was asked to assume that same responsibility.

“It turned out to be a perfect fit for me,” Cramer said. “I was already interested in my health and wellness journey by staying fit, active and eating healthy and I welcomed sharing those passions with others,” Cramer said.

Her passion for living a healthy lifestyle started before working at the university. She started dancing at 3-years-old, turning professional in 2008, and signing on with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. Unfortunately, she got injured and had to resort to other ways to stay fit.

Soon after, she became a certified yoga instructor.

“I love the stretch that it gives me physically and mentally,” Cramer said. “I learn to control my body and put my mind at ease.”

Cramer goes to yoga classes two to three times per week and meditates daily. When she’s not in class, she likes to walk and hike. In fact, last year, she completed a 20-miles in 8 hours hiking challenge in the Cuyahoga Valley National Forest. She plans to do it again in the fall.

“I love being outdoors and getting that Vitamin D from the sun,” Cramer said.

Walking has also become part of her work regimen. Cramer took part in the Ohio StepAThon earlier this month. Ohio State’s Office of the Chief Wellness Officer and the College of Nursing partnered with Healthy LifeStars to host the event. The overall goal was to raise $10,000.

Cramer personally raised around $250 and took more than 50,000 steps total. But her toddler, Chloe, is her real inspiration.

“It seemed like an awesome cause that I wanted to be a part of, “Cramer said. “I’d like my child to be healthy and well for her entire life span.”

Cramer recently started living a more sustainable lifestyle as well. She’s swapped out many household products for reusable items. She uses more aluminum, less plastic, and wears sustainably-made clothing. Trips to a local sustainable-living store are also a part of the routine, refilling household items like shampoo, soap, and cleaning products.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cramer started reading and watching documentaries that focused on sustainability.

“It really got me thinking about how it’s affecting our world now and how it will affect Chloe’s world in several years when she’s older,” Cramer said. “I would be very sad to see her having to deal with some of the stuff that might happen if we don’t start choosing more sustainable options.”

In addition to writing wellness articles for FDC’s monthly newsletter, the health enthusiast also recently received Ohio State’s Staff Career Development Grant, which provides staff with an opportunity to further their growth and development. Cramer plans on using the funds to complete her Health Coaching certification.