You better? You bet!

NJPAC’s annual Wellness Fair for staffers does a body good.


At the NJPAC Wellness Fair, 15 minutes is about all it takes to breathe easier, eat better, or pocket some knowledge on what makes us tick.


Held for the third year, the displays and demonstrations by 19 vendors, which focused on fitness and preventative health practices, took place throughout the afternoon of June 18 in Prudential Lobby. Staffers could schedule quarter-hour sessions in meditation, yoga with Newark Yoga Movement founder Debby Kaminsky, or sword fighting with Meredith Hull, to list just a few activities.


Sword fighting? Hull, who is NJPAC’s Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Operations and Real Estate, explained that the sport of historical rapier tones the body and hones the mind. She wields a longsword of steel (also called a two-hander) that’s nearly as tall as she is, and draws on her background in dance to deftly sidestep her opponents.


“I like the mental chess,” said Hull, who has practiced for almost five years. “It’s not just a physical activity; it’s how to make sure your defense can thwart your opponent’s offense to win a bout. It’s competitive, but also social.”


Wellness life coach Lisa Charles, the CEO of Embrace Your Fitness, unpacked workout equipment for employees to test drive. Nearby, Kaminsky reviewed a “take five” de-stressing exercise, designed for any office personnel who spend large modules of time in front of their computers. And, with at least two practitioners of the energizing and healing powers of reiki in the house, there was no room for negativity.


Hospitals in the RWJBarnabas Health network were represented, among other healthcare providers and fitness experts. Although everyone expected screenings and blood pressure readings, there were surprises like a giant inflatable colon (the better to learn about gastrointestinal issues), photos of yoga classes conducted in blacklight, or instruction on smudging a new home by burning sage bundles.


The late Schary Cole of NJPAC’s Development Department was fondly remembered at a cook-off featuring healthful, staffer-made cuisine (extra points for incorporating an avocado!): deviled eggs, couscous and rice, a black bean and avocado dish, blueberry and zucchini bread, and guacamole wontons – the last declared the people’s choice and first-prize winner. Benefits-eligible employees also participated in biometric screenings to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol levels, BMI and more.


“Year-round activities are coordinated by the Wellness Committee as a result of the employees’ feedback and biometrics results,” said Ginny Bowers Coleman, Director of Volunteer Services. “We are thrilled to offer a wide variety of activities to meet the staff’s interests.”


June 27, 2018