For many personal reasons, Alex Rivera is passionate about staying fit and healthy. He’s using that passion to motivate others at DFW Airport to improve their own well-being through exercise and Blue Zones Project.
From an early age, Alex Rivera knew that he was different from everyone else. Born with cerebral palsy, Alex was determined to build himself, even if it was one pushup at a time. Slowly, one pushup led to 10. Then 50. Then more than just pushups. Eventually, Alex realized he was capable of so much more. “That started my whole journey into health and fitness,” he said.
Alex’s passion for fitness was a good match for DFW Airport. The airport – the third busiest in the world – places a priority on improved health and well-being among its employees. It was recently recognized as one of the top Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America by Healthies Employers; received the Well Workplace distinction from the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA); and also received Gold Status recognition from the American Heart Association.
Thus, a partnership with Blue Zones Project was a natural fit as the airport sought to incorporate the concepts of the Power 9® into its well-being strategy. Through its LiveWell program, DFW Airport engaged more than 76% of its 1,900 headquarter employees in Blue Zones Project Purpose Workshops, plant-based cooking classes, and volunteer efforts. Blue Zones Project participation was also incorporated into the airport’s incentive programs, encouraging employees to keep moving through its fitness center, golf leagues, and tennis leagues. Additionally, the airport implemented healthier vending options and started a monthly on-site farmers market, which has been very popular with employees. As a result, DFW Airport became a Blue Zones Project Approved™ worksite in March of 2017 – the first airport in the country to become an approved worksite.
Alex’s experiences in overcoming his own challenges have fueled his desire to motivate others. He has played a critical role in implementing Blue Zones Project at DFW Airport and encourages employees to join the movement through his role as LiveWell Health & Wellness Coordinator. “If I can do it, they have no excuse not to,” he said. “I’m able to help others while at the same time help myself.”
His family history provides additional motivation for staying active. Alex’s father suffered from diabetes for many years, eventually succumbing to the disease. That proved to be a turning point in Alex’s life, prompting him to focus on helping others prevent the same outcome. “If I can get someone here who is overweight and on diabetic medicine to lose a couple pounds and save their life, that’s something.”