By Marie DarlingJanuary 22, 2018
A new fitness area for employees is now open at the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, New Hampshire. The fitness area, within the newly refurbished multi-purpose room, is located in the north end of the basement of the main laboratory building. Capt. Joe Marut says, "It is now 100 percent useable."
Marut developed the fitness area layout and pitched the idea to CRREL's Infrastructure Planning and Evaluation Group, along with campus manager Terry Harwood, in January 2017.
Marut stresses that without the full support of ERDC's Commander Col. Bryan Green, none of this would have been possible. "Thanks to Col. Green for supporting the fitness needs of the security personnel at CRREL, myself, and my fellow officers," said Marut. "In two years, he has purchased more than $16,000 worth of equipment and flooring. His encouragement for all CRREL employees to use the fitness facilities is in line with the lab leadership's quality of life initiative. CRREL employees continue to have overwhelmingly positive responses to the consolidated fitness area. I hope this great lab-leader relationship fosters more use of the fitness area."
For an office employee, regular physical activity can lower stress levels, increase productivity and create an overall feeling of wellness. For Soldiers, fitness is their job. The Army's mandatory physical fitness program has two factors - the weigh-in and the physical fitness test, making it essential that regular workouts are maintained.
Previous to this new space, existing fitness areas and equipment were spread out across the campus, leaving folks on their own to find equipment to get both a cardio and strength workout in the same space.
"It is wonderful to have all the equipment available in one space," said Michelle Beane, library technician and longtime powerlifter, Strongman challenger and local Highlands Games competitor. "It's very convenient to pop in and get my workout completed in one stop before my work day begins."
"An Army Reserve detachment from the 424th Vertical Engineering Company in Rutland, Vermont, came to the lab and conducted training," said Harwood. "Despite the extreme cold weather, they were able to get the new floor down and the exercise equipment moved. The 424th must maintain proficiency in basic construction techniques and procedures as part of combat readiness. Typically this is done via training, and CRREL is very pleased to have been able to offer this training opportunity to them."
"The Soldiers from the 424th did an excellent job. This was a genuine learning opportunity for the Soldiers to learn about piping, plumbing, electrical and minor construction," said Marut. "After a briefing by CRREL's Ed Coleman, the Soldiers then traced and labeled pipes throughout the lab to increase safety, replaced glass fluorescent bulbs with plastic LED tubes, painted and installed approximately 2,500 square feet of matting, and later moved more than 30 large pieces of gym equipment."
All CRREL employees are welcome to use the fitness equipment at one's convenience-before work, during lunch or after work. Although the area is open, it is still a work in progress.
"We are still working on adding elements to the room to make it user friendly," said Marut.
"Employees are urged to use the equipment anytime they might need a break from work or to burn off a few of those holiday calories," said Harwood. "The fitness room is available for all to use."
Signing up is simple. A waiver must be requested from Harwood. Employees must fill out the form and return. The only rules are to respect signage and leave the space clean after working out.