Host Fitness Classes Where You Work

Duke’s employee wellness program offers customizable instruction

Duke employees can organize fitness classes for offices and departments through LIVE FOR LIFE.
Duke employees can organize fitness classes for offices and departments through LIVE FOR LIFE.

Staff and faculty looking for an easy way to fit fitness into workday schedules can partner with LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke’s employee wellness program, to bring instructors directly to offices and departments for group classes.

Instead of heading to gyms for early morning classes or waiting until nighttime, employees are able to have LIVE FOR LIFE professionals lead classes on campus in spaces that can host 12 or more people. Classes can be hosted across university and health system locations, including Duke Raleigh and Duke Regional hospitals.

Types of classes and timing are customizable. Employees can set up a workout time in the morning before work begins, during a lunch hour, after 5 p.m. and on weekends. Options include yoga, Pilates, Zumba, line dancing and boot camp-like workouts. Katie MacEachern, fitness program manager with LIVE FOR LIFE, said staff could tailor requests for specific kinds of workouts should an option not be available.

“The best part is you don’t have to leave and drive to a gym,” MacEachern said. “It’s not a lot of effort to walk down the hall to participate in exercise and you feel better the rest of the day because of it.”

In order to establish a class, faculty or staff must have a private, clear (or clearable) space that can be scheduled by a departmental representative. At least 12 people are needed for each class, so a space should comfortably fit that minimum. An average fee of less than $4 per person is charged in order to pay for the time of an instructor, which can be paid with credit card, cash or check.

Interested employees can contact MacEachern by email at Katie.MacEachern@duke.edu to set up a site walkthrough to confirm an ideal space for a class. Requests for a class can be made through this online form.

For the past three years, Melissa Neeley has organized a weekly yoga session for herself and coworkers at the John Hope Franklin Center on Erwin Road. About 15 colleagues come together in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall where they stretch and practice poses like “downward dog.”

“It’s a tremendous opportunity and enormously beneficial to have the ability to host this within walking distance of our offices,” said Neeley, operations support staff member for the Center. “Stepping away during a lunch break helps us refocus and takes the stress out of the day.”

Not only is there a physical and mental benefit, Neeley said, but one of camaraderie, too. She said sharing regular yoga classes with colleagues has helped build teamwork among her coworkers.

“It’s a moment to allow yourself some self care,” she said. “It’s a healthy, collaborative activity.”