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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NIH Follows Own Advice, Takes a Hike

Staffers hold up signs with positive phrases on them

Staffers from the Division of Amenities and Transportation Services and NIH police officers cheer on participants near Bldg. 1.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Participants hula hoop on the lawn

Before the hike, participants warm up on the Bldg. 1 lawn by hula hooping.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

McGowan and Dr. Collins blow their whistles at the race's start line

Blowing whistles to start the walk/run are Colleen McGowan, ORS director, and NIH director Dr. Francis Collins.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Runners cross the start line

Runners take off at the event’s start line. The walkers began their hike shortly afterwards in a second heat.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Three runners approach the end

Several runners approach the end of the 3.25-mile loop around the campus.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Three walkers hike up a hill near the finish line

Walkers hike up the final hill before they cross the finish line.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Walkers cheer after finishing their hike

NIAID employees from 5601 Fishers Lane celebrate upon return from their hike.

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

NIH’s own research suggests that walking and running regularly may lower your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, strengthen your bones and muscles and help to maintain a healthy weight. 

Many NIH’ers followed their agency’s exercise recommendations at the 12th annual Take a Hike Day, a non-competitive fun walk/run on June 12. 

The hike is “a great statement that we are the National Institutes of Health, and we care about our health,” said NIH director Dr. Francis Collins at the starting line in front of Bldg. 1. “We’re always preaching to other people about how to be healthy. Now, we have an opportunity to demonstrate our concern about ourselves.” 

A regular exerciser himself, Collins encouraged employees to get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. “It’s supposed to be really good for your longevity,” he added. “We want all of you to be around a long time because we depend on you to make NIH an amazing enterprise.”

This year, 1,272 NIH’ers registered to walk or jog the 3.25-mile loop around the campus perimeter or a route at one of several off-campus locations, said Chris Gaines, program manager for NIH fitness and wellness services. Participants from NIEHS’s Research Triangle Park campus in North Carolina and NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories took part in the hike for the first time. 

To learn more about NIH-sponsored events that support your financial, social, career, physical and community well-being, check out—Eric Bock

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