Connecticut College Magazine · Spring 2008


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Ask a Camel
Joan Pekoc Pagano ´68

“How do I stay in shape in 30 minutes a day — or less?”

Joan Pekoc Pagano ´68, an author and fitness specialist, has the answer.

by Mary Howard

“The best exercise is the one you´ll do. At any age, people can improve their fitness level. Cardiovascular exercise, stretching and muscular conditioning are all part of a well-rounded fitness program, but exercise need not be terribly time consuming, and you can be creative about fitting it into your daily activities. I use a stability ball for my desk chair and do leg stretches when I´m brushing my teeth. Exercising regularly for even just 15 minutes is an investment that will serve our bodies for life. It is simply the best defense against aging. Brief doses of exercise, done consistently over time, yield dramatic benefits in terms of reducing the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. This is the basis for the exercise routines in my new book, The 15 Minute Total Body Workout, which combine cardio, strength training and stretching in a concise, 15-minute format. In addition to strength training twice a week, I suggest that you should accumulate 30 minutes of moderate, aerobic exercise five days a week. As a veteran of seven marathons, I know that that running or walking can easily fit into a busy lifestyle."

About Joan Pekoc Pagano ´68

As a personal trainer and author of a new book, Joan Pekoc Pagano ´68 is a wonderful
advertisement for the benefits of working out. “I was born with athletic abilities, and you
could say that fitness is in my bones,” says the tall, lithe Pagano. “I played every sport,
took every lesson.” At Connecticut College, the French major played field hockey, basketball
and volleyball and was on the swim team. After graduating cum laude and Phi Beta
Kappa, she moved to N ew York C ity and enjoyed successful careers in fashion and the restaurant
business. She also stopped working out. “I was sedentary for 15 years when a friend shamed
me into taking a yoga class,” she says. The yoga class was a turning point, and
Pagano was transformed by the fitness boom of the ´80s. In 1988, she plunged into a 150-hour
certification program at Marymount Manhattan College and began working as a personal
fitness trainer on the Upper E ast Side. She returned to Marymount Manhattan C ollege as a
faculty member in 1990 and served as director of their Personal Fitness C ertification Program
for many years. She has also instructed fitness trainers through IDEA, an organization
supporting fitness professionals worldwide. With her own staff of fitness specialists,
she now runs Joan Pagano Fitness Group, working with clients whose ages range from 15 to 95.
She specializes in the benefits of exercise for women´s health issues, like breast cancer and osteoporosis. Pagano has a thriving business, three published books and a solid reputation as a
teacher of professional fitness trainers. The daughter of Irene K ennel Pekoc ´40, Pagano
credits much of her success to her liberal arts education at Connecticut College. “I use the
skills I learned at C — in writing, problem solving and public speaking — every day. I
couldn´t be more grateful,” she says.

For more information on Pagano and her business, visit

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