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Environmental Factor, June 2015

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Health and Fitness Week returns to NIEHS

By Ian Thomas

Shropshire Shooting a basketball

Shropshire took a shot at the basketball shootout. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

May 4 marked the start of Health and Fitness Week at NIEHS, a fun-filled event held annually to promote exercise, nutrition, and wellness among institute employees and contractors.

Widely seen as an unofficial rite of spring, the 2015 schedule offered a full slate of favorites, such as the table tennis and 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, plus a handful of new events, including the Zumba Dance Party.

Something for everyone

“The goal of Health and Fitness Week has always been to show our employees how much fun it is to get out of the office and be active,” said VeeVee Shropshire, a member of the NIEHS Office of Management Health, Fitness, and Wellness Work/Life Balance Organizing Committee (see text box). “Coming into 2015, we wanted to create a balanced schedule that anyone could take part in, and I think we really succeeded in doing that.”

Another new event for 2015 was the Ping Pong How-to Clinic, led by NIEHS biologist Frank Chao, Ph.D., which kicked off the week.

“Frank took us through a quick rundown of the rules of ping pong then gave us our space to practice different types of serves and hits,” said NIEHS management analyst Claire Long, one of the coordinators of this year’s events. “It was a lot of fun, in addition to being a low-key, low-pressure introduction to a highly fast-paced game.”

As always, the 2-mile Nature Walk and Run ranked among the week’s most popular activities. Set to a backdrop of sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s, the event drew more than two dozen participants for a leisurely stroll around Discovery Lake.

“Honestly, with weather like this, who wouldn’t want to get out of the office for a quick run?” joked Kimberly Peterson, a longtime employee at NIEHS.

Health and Fitness Week takes place during National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, a national observance designated by presidential proclamation.

(Ian Thomas is a public affairs specialist in the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison and a regular contributor to the Environmental Factor.)

  • Guang Hu playing ping pong

    When he’s not playing ping pong, Guang Hu, Ph.D., conducts research on epigenetics and stem cell biology at NIEHS. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • Wei Qu and Hong Li playing tennis

    NIEHS scientists Wei Qu, Ph.D., left, and Hong Li, Ph.D., squared off against the competition in a table tennis doubles match. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • XutingWang Playing ping pong

    Xuting Wang, Ph.D., conducts genome integrity and structural biology research at NIEHS. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • Staff playing basketball

    Staff from across the institute enjoyed the 3-on-3 basketball round-robin. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • staff playing basketball

    Jump shots and layups abounded at the round-robin tournament. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • Headshot of Long

    In addition to her duties in the Office of Management, Long works with the NIEHS Fitness Room. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • Staff on a nature walk

    Gorgeous weather added to the enjoyment of the Nature Walk and Run. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

2015 NIEHS Health, Fitness, and Wellness Work/Life Balance Organizing Committee

Deloris Anderson — Health and Safety Branch
Lindia Engram, R.N. — Health and Safety Branch
Jenn Evans — Administrative Services and Analysis Branch
Bill Fitzgerald — Health and Safety Branch
Jordan Harris — contractor
Chris Hunt — Health and Safety Branch
Claire Long — Administrative Services and Analysis Branch
VeeVee Shropshire — Health and Safety Branch
John Sutton — contractor

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