How to Work Out at Work

Employees have resources to weave exercise into workday routines

Bryan Roth gets in a midday workout at Brodie Recreation Center.
Bryan Roth gets in a midday workout at Brodie Recreation Center.

Bryan Roth admits he’s a bit of an anomaly.

Each day, usually around lunchtime, Roth takes a short walk across East Campus from his office in the West Duke Building to Brodie Recreation Center to get in a workout.

He said the workout is a continuation of healthy habits he picked up during his days running cross country in high school. It’s also an effective way to clear his mind in the middle of a workday.“My body expects it,” said Roth, the communications and advancement manager for the Kenan Institute of Ethics. “So on days when I’m not going to the gym or I don’t go for a run, I’ll try to walk a little bit more so at least I feel like I’m doing something else.”

According to the American Heart Association, a healthy goal for most people is 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, five days a week.

Looking to weave exercise into your workday? As Healthy Duke, an initiative that invites Duke community members to build the healthiest organization in the U.S., prepares for a fall launch, consider these ways.

Join a campus gym

If you enroll through the Duke Fitness Club offered by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke’s employee wellness program, you can get discounted membership rates to Brodie Recreation Center and Wilson Recreation Center on West Campus.

Duke Recreation and Physical Education also provides Duke employees an array of membership options for Brodie and Wilson, ranging from annual family plans to a $10 per-visit rate.

Mike Yun, business and human relations manager for Duke Recreation and Physical Education, said there are more than 3,000 Duke faculty and staff with Duke Recreation and Physical Education memberships. A membership earns you access to all recreation facilities on campus.

Roth has been a Brodie regular for seven years.

“The good thing is, if you’re on East Campus, it’s centrally located for where you work,” Roth said. "If you’re on West Campus, you’ve got Wilson Rec Center and it might be a 10-minute walk. But it’s awesome that it’s just 10 minutes away by foot.”

Get with a program

One of the main goals of LIVE FOR LIFE is to get faculty and staff moving. And there are a few ways to make that happen.

The Duke Run/Walk Club starts its Fall session in August. The 12-week program is open to employees of all fitness levels with sessions at 5:30 p.m. on East Campus.

LIVE FOR LIFE also organizes promotions in which employees can earn prizes while making progress toward fitness goals. Programs such as “Fit in 15,” with its approachable exercise benchmarks, and January’s “Get Moving Challenge,” which adds a group contest element, are among the employee wellness program’s most popular. Each aims to make mixing physical activity into your workday a manageable option.

“We tell people that if they want to break their exercise down into smaller segments throughout their day, that benefits them just as much as doing it all at once,” said Taylor Miron, LIVE FOR LIFE fitness specialist. “We try to build a lot of our programs based on that idea. … I think people really relate well to that and feel a lot less pressure.”

Take a walk

For a simple way to squeeze exercise into your day, try an option that doesn’t require a membership, money or much help.

Walking is perhaps the easiest way to get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Popular campus routes include the two-mile loop around East Campus and the 2.9-mile Al Buehler Trail that winds through Duke Forest near West Campus. Sarah P. Gardens on West Campus features trails that make for easy, short walking options.

“Walking is the number one activity we encourage,” Miron said. “With the gardens being close by, you can walk through there. Even between Duke South and Duke North, there’s quite a bit of walking.”