“Getting to the gym isn’t always easy—living a healthy lifestyle isn’t always easy,” says Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) Senior Systems Engineer Matt Barry.

For Barry, he has no choice but to make his health a priority.

At the age of 33, Barry received news from doctors that his cholesterol levels were off the chart. Based on his family’s medical history, this didn’t come as a shock; however, that didn’t alleviate the short- and long-term risks posed by the disease.

While medication is prescribed to tame high cholesterol, doctors often encourage changes in diet, lifestyle and exercise to naturally reduce levels and improve heart health.

“I realized I needed to make a change of some kind,” said Barry. “This led me to exercise.”

Years prior to the diagnosis, Barry was an avid cycler. When he found out he needed to incorporate exercise back into his daily routine, he decided to branch out to a different form of physical activity. Despite the chaos of the work week, the convenience of BCBSNE’s 24/7 fitness facility gave Barry no excuse not to workout.

When Barry first started going to the gym, he modeled workouts off Power 90 Extreme— otherwise known as P90X. Treating this program as a guide, Barry discovered what worked best for his body. The learning curve helped him develop a framework for his own fitness routine.

A few months later when COVID-19 hit and BCBSNE transitioned to a remote work environment, Barry had to get creative at home. Staying at home and spending most of the day sitting at a desk, he was more motivated than ever to make his health a foremost priority. Whether he completes an at-home workout on his rower or lifts weights at Anytime Fitness, this hour was and is crucial to keeping his heart healthy.

“I need to be mindful about incorporating movement into my daily routine,” said Barry. “Not only am I lowering my cholesterol levels, but I’m alleviating the stress, tension and anxiety of the workday. It’s a great outlet.”

Thanks to this lifestyle shift, Barry has been able to significantly lower his cholesterol levels.

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