OHS Encourages People to Hike Despite the Heat

By Kaylee Towey, WHK Student Intern; photos by Richard Frederickson, Staff Photographer
Two walkers enjoy the Take a Hike event.

Cheryl Thomas and a friend walk the 1.3-mile course set up by OHS to encourage fitness.

Even the blazing heat could not stop people from enjoying the Occupational Health Services’ (OHS) most recent Take a Hike event, which promoted healthy living.  

The red, white, and blue–themed, 1.3-mile walk was the fifth such event since 2014 for NCI at Frederick. People got out of their offices to exercise, show off their patriotism, and win prizes.

Howard Young, Ph.D., senior investigator, Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, adopted the program from NIH’s annual Take a Hike Day—though he advocates for the event to be held quarterly.

Sarah Hooper, manager, OHS, said the event is an effort “to get people who [aren’t] usually physically active to walk.” OHS wants to encourage those who need more physical health assistance and show them that exercise can be simple.

Thirty-one people participated in the walk. Though it was 88 degrees outside, with humidity making it feel like a scorching 97, everyone kept their spirits high.

John Bell, construction supervisor, Facilities Maintenance and Engineering, and Saundra Pryor, nurse, OHS, kicked off the event with air horns in front of Building 549. Commenting on the heat, Bell said he “can’t always pick the day, but exercising and walking is a good thing.”  

The event included both new and old participants who were eager to walk. Intern Bohan Shan used the event to help orient a new intern in his office, Robert Byers. They were excited to socialize and take a hike.

Another one to brave the heat, Cheryl Thomas, research chemist, Molecular Targets Laboratory, has participated in every walk OHS has hosted. She walks five miles a day on campus and said she “thinks walking is great [because] it is low impact, costs nothing besides two pairs of shoes a year, and helps with [her] cardiovascular system.”

Walkers got a pamphlet at the start of the hike with a map of the course. Twelve grand prizes were raffled to participants who collected signatures from each of the three water stations. The winners received a sports duffle bag filled with health-related goodies. In addition, those who wore red, white, and blue got a plastic salad bowl.

Roberta Matthai, research assistant, Flow Cytometry Core Lab, said she enjoys the fitness activities OHS hosts. She said “it’s an easy thing, an easy way to be active.” 

Janine Bansali and Roberta Matthai wear patriotic outfits and brave the heat to participate in Take a Hike. Interns sign in at the start of the fifth Take a Hike event at NCI at Frederick since 2014. Not everyone walked the course—roller blades were also an option. Roberta Matthai stops for a water break and gets her pamphlet signed by OHS interns Emily Burnett and Kylie Tomlin. After gathering all three signatures, she was eligible to enter the raffle. Three WHK interns show off their prizes after completing the walk.