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Ways to Exercise, Rain or Shine

Duke fitness experts share indoor exercise tips to sidestep severe weather or hot temperatures

Duke employees in Gross Hall strike a yoga pose during a lunchtime fitness session organized by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke's employee wellness program. Photo by April Dudash
Duke employees in Gross Hall strike a yoga pose during a lunchtime fitness session organized by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke's employee wellness program. Photo by April Dudash

“Inhale to Warrior One. Exhale to Warrior Two.”

Duke fitness instructor David Roberts led 10 employees through a flow of yoga poses, instructing them to outstretch their arms and plant their feet on pastel mats.

The quiet stretching and slow movement filled a third-floor Gross Hall conference room, where tables and chairs were pushed to the periphery to form a makeshift yoga studio. The session, provided by Duke’s employee wellness program, LIVE FOR LIFE, allows employees to conveniently exercise, rain or shine, just steps away from their desks.

“There’s really no excuse for somebody who wants to be active,” said LIVE FOR LIFE senior manager Julie Joyner. “There’s lots of ways to fit exercise in, and it’s also about getting a little bit creative and thinking outside of the box.”

Duke employees don’t have to let severe weather forecasts or hot temperatures derail their fitness routines. Instead, they can take their exercise indoors.

Find your inner yogi

Departments who want to start their own yoga series can contact LIVE FOR LIFE to bring more “om” to the office.

LIVE FOR LIFE offers yoga classes, Zumba and other cardio options. Employees interested in holding fitness classes in their workspace must have a room that’s available for a weekly class and permission to hold classes.

“It’s a convenience factor,” said Katie MacEachern, LIVE FOR LIFE fitness program manager. “I can take my lunch break to do yoga and come back and not be so stressed out. Employees love having it right down the hall.”

Participants also need to bring their own equipment, such as yoga mats, and departments either cover the cost of the class or employees pay at cost to participate. Email MacEachern at for more information.

Check out a free fitness DVD

From cardio hip-hop to ab workouts, the LIVE FOR LIFE Lending Library has hundreds of books and DVDs that employees can check out for free.

The Lending Library is in the Employee Occupational Health & Wellness office in Duke South Clinic’s Red Zone basement, room 04290. It’s open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, except for noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays.

A list of available titles can be found on the LIVE FOR LIFE website.

Join a gym at a discount

Take advantage of weightlifting equipment, pools, basketball courts, and more by joining a local gym. Duke employees receive discounted membership rates through LIVE FOR LIFE’s Duke Fitness Club, which is comprised of 14 businesses.

The Duke Fitness Club is offering membership specials during the month of March, such as a free first month of membership, reduced initiation fee, or free personal training sessions, based on gym location.

Ditch the elevator and take the stairs

The five floors that Lora Griffiths walks up and down every day in Erwin Square equal 840 steps.

The grants and contracts administrator makes it a point to avoid the elevator during her morning, lunch and afternoon breaks. She even has a sticky note at her desk on which she tallied the number of stairs in the parking deck and also on the stairwell near Ninth Street.

“I’ll go out of my way to climb some,” said Griffiths, who works in the Department of Medicine’s Research Administration office. “It turns into a game.”Griffiths has been a member of LIVE FOR LIFE’s “Take the Stairs” program for three years, and by tracking her steps and turning in those numbers, she gets prizes in return. Because of her steps, she’s received items from a T-shirt to an iPod shuffle.

Employees in the program work their way through different levels of stair-stepping, from one mile (2,000 steps) to a marathon (52,400 steps). To join “Take the Stairs,” fill out the online form.