By Luke Frank

HSC Wellness Program Steps It Up

HSC Wellness Program Steps It Up

Whether you want to buff up, slim down or exercise your mind, The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC) has an option for you.

Faculty, students and staff can choose from a variety of reduced-price classes, like kickboxing, yoga or mindfulness, walking the path around the UNM North Golf Course, hitting the running trail that marks the miles around campus or doing reps at the recently expanded Domenici Center gym.

Employee wellness has had a footprint for more than 35 years at UNM. Nearly 10 years ago, Chancellor Paul Roth, MD, MS, decided to make options available for those working and studying at the HSC.

Many are unaware of the hidden gem on Domenici Center West's second floor that is the HSC Wellness Center. A swipe of your UNM Hospital Security-issued badge opens the door 24/7 to on-campus free cardio and strength training.

"We've recently added several fitness machines to the center," says Kyle Duran, an HSC Wellness team member. "There's definitely something for everyone, including four elliptical machines, three treadmills, two stationary bikes, a helix lateral trainer machine and a rowing machine."

The center also has universal weight machines for upper and lower body conditioning and medicine balls, along with free weights and stretching. Additional amenities include free fitness assessments - provided by the Department of Physical Therapy - cubby spaces for personal belongings and showers accessible with a badge swipe.

If you like putting your feet to pavement instead of in a gym, the Fitbit Challenge is returning to campus this fall. The competition aims to get staff out-and-about, meeting new people while getting their steps in, Duran says. Fitbit Challenges are offered periodically throughout the year.

Teams of between 10 and 20 people will be formed once you register online through the HSC Wellness Program website. Participants self-select where they fit in for activity levels - from light steppers (about 2,000 steps per day) to high steppers (more than 12,000 steps daily). Faculty, staff and students with a "salud" email address are eligible.

Be on the lookout for HSC Wellness email messages announcing the limited availability of discounted Fitbits, a health-tracking device that records the number of steps taken in a given timeframe. Depending upon the model, Fitbits also can record number of floors climbed, miles, minutes and hours traveled, heart rate, calories burned and more.

"There will be a Fitbit sale subsidized by HSC Wellness right before the challenge begins," Duran adds. "You'll want to enroll quickly - quantities are limited and they go fast."

Sign up for the Fitbit device through the HSC Wellness website and you're automatically enrolled in the step class. The wellness program assembles teams based on average number of steps per day, and captains are selected to motivate and inspire the team's progress.

"The HSC Wellness Program creates great opportunities to meet and interact with people all over North Campus," Duran says. "It's all part of being a member of this amazing community."

You can also find other HSC wellness programs and opportunities by checking the HSC Be Well Announcements and the HSC Events Calendar. There will be information on everything from boot camp, kickboxing and yoga classes, to campus movies, music on the HSC Plaza and fun giveaways. "We want everyone to be well, whatever that means to each of us," says wellness team member Vanessa Hawker, PhD.

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