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NASA, Florida Team Up for Health and Fitness
June 2, 2014

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By Anna Heiney
NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

[image-51]A strong and energetic workforce is essential as NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida transitions to a multi-user spaceport. Kennedy Director Bob Cabana, Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong and special guests from several county health departments led a group of Kennedy employees on an early morning fun run May 19, officially kicking off National Employee Health and Fitness Month with the agency's "NASA Moves!" challenge.

"Health and fitness really is important, and it makes us more productive at work," Cabana said.

"You've just got to keep moving. Take any opportunity you can to get some exercise."

The NASA Moves! competition challenges the workforce from each of the agency's field centers to engage in at least 20 minutes of activity, or 10,000 steps, each day from May 18-31.

About 100 people participated in the kickoff event on the Pathfinder Trail in the heart of the center's Launch Complex 39. The one-third-mile-long gravel walkway traces the iconic shape of a space shuttle orbiter and features a set of exercise stations.

"We're having a two-week competition between all the NASA centers, and I expect Kennedy Space Center to be No. 1," Cabana said, eliciting a round of cheers before he and Armstrong led the group through two quick laps around the trail.

The friendly contest is part of NASA's new Health4Life initiative, a Web-based health initiative designed to help employees track their health, fitness and nutrition. Health4Life also provides an array of resources geared toward increasing physical activity.

Like NASA, the State of Florida is working to encourage a healthier lifestyle. Spaceport employees were joined at the motivational event by the directors of health from several Central Florida counties, including Osceola, Volusia, Orange and Indian River, as well as Kennedy Space Center's home, Brevard County.

"We are challenging gravity in a different way," Armstrong said.

"We have launched Healthiest Weight Florida, which is our collaboration with a whole host of organizations. I'm delighted that NASA is one of our partners to really help Florida's children, adults and families be more informed about what they eat and how they're active in life."

Taking care of the workforce is an investment in the center's future, an attitude that shows in the range of health and fitness offerings available at no cost to employees and contractors through Kennedy's Health Education and Wellness Program. The professionally staffed fitness center offers classes, sponsors an annual walk/run and hosts a Summer Indoor Triathlon. Monthly cardiovascular and diabetes screenings, health packets, presentations and more give workers plenty of ways to improve and maintain their health -- and that's good preventive medicine for the organization as a whole.

"It has been demonstrated time and time again that exercise, even in small amounts, has a myriad of benefits including such things as improved health, better weight control, reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, improved emotional wellbeing, and many more," said Dr. David Tipton, Kennedy's chief medical officer.

"Every chance to exercise offers us the opportunity to improve ourselves and to put us into a position to better contribute to NASA, Kennedy and the space program."

The benefits of health and fitness deliver improvements from the inside out, making life that much more enjoyable.

"It just makes life a whole lot more fun," Cabana said.

Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, right, shakes hands with Florida State Surgeon General John Armstrong
Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, right, shakes hands with Florida State Surgeon General John Armstrong before an early morning run along the center's Pathfinder Trail.
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NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis
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Florida State Surgeon General John Armstrong, left, and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana run in front of the Vehicle Assembly Building
Florida State Surgeon General John Armstrong, left, and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana are backdropped by the Vehicle Assembly Building during the run to kick off the NASA Moves! competition.
Image Credit: 
NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis
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Page Last Updated: June 2nd, 2014
Page Editor: Anna Heiney