Lose Weight and Make Friends with Run/Walk Club

Biannual fitness club returns in March

This spring,
This spring, "Yoga for Runners" will take place for Run/Walk participants to develop ideal muscle balance and injury prevention for exercise. Photo by Bryan Roth.

Nearly 1,000 faculty and staff registered in 2012 to take part in Duke's Run/Walk Club, a free, weekly group for Duke community members who seek a social exercise experience. Ideal for beginner walkers to marathoners, the club begins its 12-week session March 11 and will meet twice a week until May 29.

Among the attendees this season will be John Whitesides - he joined the group last year to lose enough weight to drop under 200 pounds. He was a beginner runner when he joined but has since competed in 5K races and lost 10 pounds. He weighs 195.

"Instead of being on your own for exercise, it's very encouraging that you have people at all different fitness levels who want you to be there every week," said Whitesides, an assistant professor in the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. "It's great motivation not just to get out after work and spend an hour running or walking, it's nice to meet with people, too."

All Duke employees and their dependents can join the club, which is sponsored by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke's employee wellness program. The club meets on campus and at Durham Regional and Duke Raleigh hospitals. At each location, participants form groups according to fitness level and follow clearly laid out plans to help participants improve fitness and lower stress. Sign-up is available online.

During the upcoming session, the Run/Walk Club will host for the second time "Yoga for Runners," a series of free, outdoor yoga sessions on East Campus. The sessions help walkers and runners develop ideal muscle balance and injury prevention for exercise.

Learn circuit training techniques from LIVE FOR LIFE.

"The turnout we received last year for our yoga program was great, and we heard from participants how much they enjoyed a new way to prepare for running or walking," said Liz Grabosky, fitness manager with LIVE FOR LIFE. "It's all about providing a holistic approach to create fitness regimens."

For Linda Lloyd, a key part of that is the social aspect of the Run/Walk Club. Before she joined the group last year, she said it was easy to find excuses not to exercise.

"I never thought of myself as a runner, but I started with running one minute and walking one minute," said Lloyd, a radiation therapist at Duke Raleigh Hospital. "Next thing I know, I'm running five minutes and walking two minutes and soon after I ran my first 5K. Other staff in my group are my friends now, and they give me a reason to show up and burn calories."