Wanda Parker can retire from Patient Services at Duke Health and Fitness Center.

But at 64, she is not ready.

For the past three decades, she has stood at the entrance to the center, receiving visitors with smiles, friendly conversations, or encouraging words.

“I like what I do,” said Parker, who has worked at the center since its opening in 1991. “That’s why I didn’t go. I just love the way I can communicate with people; It only makes my day.

Set in the middle of a 26-acre tract Pini Woodland off Erwin Road Duke Health and Fitness Center It is on the edge of the Duke Living Campus. With large windows and airy, colorful interiors, it is a bright and busy place filled with people who do their best to approach or maintain a healthy lifestyle.

As the center celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, it is a joy to celebrate. And it is that positive force that keeps people like Parker and visitors she has been friends with over the years coming back.

The Duke Health and Fitness Center at 3475 Erwin Road has 2,000 members, about a quarter of whom are Duke staff and teachers. The 30,000-square-foot center has a saltwater pool, indoor and outdoor tracks, group exercise areas and weight and cardio machines. But it is a relaxed and supportive feeling, and the center’s staff is able to tailor training plans for members facing a variety of conditions – cancer, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Jennifer Bachman, director of the Duke Health and Fitness Center.  Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bachman.“Our mission has never changed,” said Jennifer Bachman, director of the Health Center. We are still developing a system of exercise to control chronic diseases and illnesses. That’s why I think we love what we do, we are making a positive difference in people’s lives. This is incredibly rewarding. ”

Center members are available to anyone aged 16 or over, regardless of age, fitness or contact with Duke. However, active and retired Duke staff and teachers Get a discounted price With annual contract.

The Duke Health and Fitness Center opened in 1991 as part of a $ 10.4 million three-story building as part of the Duke Living Campus.

The Life Center is originally intended for Duke University’s Cardiology Prevention Program, which explores ways to improve and prolong the lives of patients suffering from heart disease or other chronic diseases through an integrated exercise and nutrition program.

Following the official opening of the Living Center on October 17, 1991, patients and researchers will be able to use the Andrew Wallace Clinic building in the classrooms and kitchens of the Wallace Clinic Building and the Extended Fitness Facility. It is finally known as the Duke Health and Fitness Center.

People who exercise.“Indeed, they were taking a scientific and revolutionary approach to changing patients’ lives through lifestyles and lifestyles,” Bachman said. “I think it was revolutionary at the time, and that approach is still very important today.”

Over the next three decades, the Sarah W. Steadman Center for Nutrition Studies and the University of Duke University’s Cardiology Prevention approach have seen the role of the Center for Life change. The Andrew Wallace Clinic will finally be located. James R. Urbaniak Sports Science InstituteIn 1997, new facilities, such as the Duke Beauty Center and the 2006 Duke Integrated Medical Center, were built nearby.

But the Duke Health and Fitness Center is permanent.

For the past three decades, members of the Duke and Duram communities have surrounded the track, worked on fitness equipment, and worked together in group fitness classes, all working to stay healthy.

Retired Duke worker Gilbert Smith works most mornings at Duke Health and Fitness Center.  Photo courtesy of Gilbert Smith.For 27 years, until his retirement in 2017, Gilbert Smith worked at Duke University University School of Medicine, which oversees corporate research, including clinical trials. Starting three days a week, go to the Duke Health and Fitness Center and spend an hour or so on treadmills, oval trainers or weight machines.

The 74-year-old Smith’s daily routine has not changed much because he still goes to the center for morning exercises. Just as Wanda Parker welcomes guests to the front door, the opportunity to spend some time improving the health of positive people is a must.

“The people there were always nice,” says Smith. “They have good people with good knowledge, happy people who point you in the right direction.”

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