Community Involvement Keeps Couple Healthy

Craig Perry and Tom Venner are an active Plano couple.  From their careers, to community involvement, to their love of travel, Perry and Venner keep a full schedule.  However, amidst all of their busyness, they are committed to living a healthy lifestyle.  The secret to doing so, they’ve found, is maintaining balance, whether it be in diet, exercise, or simply their outlook on life.

Perry, a property manager with a Dallas firm, doesn’t have a physically taxing job, but it does require long hours at his desk.  As a result, Perry purchased a stand-up desk about two years ago.  “I’ve really gotten used to standing at my desk and can tell it helps keep me sharp and not hunched over a keyboard,” Perry says.

The standing desk is one small part of Perry’s balanced, healthy lifestyle.  For exercise, he has done everything from spin classes, to gym workouts, to just riding his bike around town on weekends.  “I did spin classes for several years but now I tend to just try to hit the gym at least a couple times a week,” said Perry.  “When the weather is nice, I do like to get out on my bike.”

Venner works as a senior lead art director for a creative agency and he, too, has begun using a stand up desk at work.  His exercise journey, however, has been a bit more circuitous.  “I joined the Plano recreation center when I was working from home last year,” said Venner.  “At times, I found it easy to avoid going to the gym because it ‘interrupted’ my work, so the key was establishing a routine and sticking with it, which is especially important now that I’m back in a corporate environment.  And by the way, the Plano rec centers are an outstanding value!”

Venner is similarly dedicated to maintaining balance with his diet.  Most mornings he starts with a cup of coffee and bowl of cold cereal.  For lunch, he might take a chicken breast or some other leftover to work, or enjoy the great cafeteria his company provides.  “I’m fortunate to have a cafeteria with so many healthy choices and posted nutrition information,” adds Venner.

As a mid-westerner, Perry grew up eating a lot of “meat and potatoes,” a routine that had over the years added a few extra pounds.  Today, he is more mindful of his diet, typically eating lighter early in the day and at lunch.  “I start most days with black coffee and a banana, or some other fruit.  For lunch I’ll eat something light, or just have a fruit or veggie smoothie.”  Perry’s dedication to eating better and exercising more has enabled him to drop, and keep off, nearly 10 pounds.  “It might not sound like a lot, but that is 10 fewer pounds that I’m carrying around all day, which really makes a difference in how I feel.”

Perry and Venner feel strongly that maintaining a healthy lifestyle comes not just from eating right and getting exercise, but also from being engaged in the community.  Perry currently serves on Plano’s Heritage Commission, and in 2017 chaired the Plano Chamber of Commerce.  Venner currently chairs Plano’s Cultural Affairs Commission.  “The emotional and mental benefits of working for our community and engaging with fellow citizens is just as important to our overall health as diet and exercise,” says Venner.  “And it gives us an opportunity to enjoy some of our favorite restaurants in downtown Plano,” Perry adds with a laugh.

Their balanced perspective on exercise and nutrition, and life in general, enables Venner and Perry to be healthy without obsessing over the latest workout or counting calories. They maintain that perspective when they travel.  “We may not have access to a spin class or gym, but we do spend hours walking around towns or up and down the beach.  Again, not only is there a physical benefit from doing so, but also it helps connect us with the local community,” says Venner.

Is there anything out of balance in their lives?  “Probably our love for Italian food!  We are visiting England and Scotland this fall, and even there we’ll seek out Italian food,” says Perry.  “Yes, but we’ll likely walk miles to find it and burn some calories first,” retorts Venner.


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