Narrator: As director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins has a very busy schedule. But one activity he rarely misses is his weekly volleyball game with other employees of the NIH.
Dr. Collins: Volleyball is a great game for getting every muscle used and getting yourself into a competitive situation with a bunch of other people in a good-natured way. So you’re working as a team. And I enjoy the chance to be able to be out here also with a bunch of other people from NIH, many of them postdoctoral fellows. I don’t get to rub shoulders with all seventeen thousand people at NIH as much as I’d like so here’s one chance to do that.
Narrator: He plays volleyball for the camaraderie but also for the exercise. And he’s pretty good at it.
Dr. Collins: If it comes to you first, the goal is to bump it to the person who is in the center because they’re going to set it up to the person on either side of them in the front line for them to spike it, and that makes it hard for the other team to return it.
Narrator: But volleyball is not the only form of exercise Dr. Collins engages in. He lifts weights 2 or 3 times a week at home and also goes bicycling. Recently, he and his wife took part in “Bike to Work Day” at NIH.
Dr. Collins: Good morning everybody. All of you bikers, congratulations for getting here because if you didn’t get here you wouldn’t be here. So bravo! This is my wife Diane, and we had a great ride this morning.
Narrator: Biking, weight training, and the weekly volleyball game are all part of an overall strategy Dr. Collins uses to stay active. Exercise and physical activity may help him with something else, reducing his risk for disease.
Dr. Collins: I was approaching 60. I realized I’d gained some pounds. and found out I was at risk for diabetes, and that’s a disease I really don’t want to get. I feel a lot better. I’ve lost 23 pounds in the last year and I aim to keep that off. I hope I’m also staving off any kind of medical problems that might otherwise be lurking out there in the future by keeping my weight down and my exercise training up.
Narrator: Keeping his exercise training up helps Dr. Collins maintain his vigorous work schedule, control his weight, and stay competitive in sports. It’s clear that he sees regular exercise as a way to maintain health and fitness as he grows older.
Dr. Collins: The more you can keep active, the more you can keep mobile, the better chance you have of continuing to act like a fairly young, healthy person as long as you possibly can.