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Walk your way to a healthy lifestyle

By : Rabia Muhammad

Walker Fran Goldman climbs a hill during one of her walks.
Marjorie Pratt has always enjoyed the privacy and quiet time her regular walks provide. So, when she heard the University’s Wellness Walker program offered incentives to walk, Pratt, who is the Mathematics Department secretary, was not about to miss her opportunity to sign up.

Now, seven years later, Pratt is still walking and has surpassed each walking goal program coordinators have set for its members.

She’s among the 50 walkers who have participated in the Campus Recreational Services program that awards incentives to people of all fitness levels as they complete mileage.

In addition to the incentives the program offers, health-related literature and bi-weekly mileage log sheets are sent to each member. Participants record their own mileage.

“When I return my log sheet, I have a feeling of accomplishment,” said Birgit Nicolaisen, who has been a member since the program began in 1996. Nicolaisen, an Academic Affairs program assistant, and her husband David Lee joined the program together and have accumulated more than 5,000 miles. They walk “the brain” each weekday.

The program is self-paced with some reaching their goals and accumulating items quicker than others. Pratt has walked 3,442.7 miles — 74.9 of them have been since the fall. “It’s my quiet time … no kids, no husband,” Pratt said. “I just listen to my radio.” Water bottles, visors, fanny packs or T-shirts are given each time a walker reaches a 50-mile interval. After completing the first 200 miles, incentives are awarded every 100 miles. The final category, Wellness Walkers Plus, has participants who have completed approximately 500 miles.

“Motivation comes from within and Wellness Walkers puts a title on it,” said Fran Goldman, acting associate director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Program, who began the recreational program last fall. Depending on weather conditions, Goldman walks four or five days a week and has accumulated about 120 miles.

Goldman said she joined the program because she wanted to develop a healthier lifestyle. Wellness Walkers provides nutritional literature as well as tracking her walking progress, giving her the additional support she needs.

Goldman said she would recommend the program because it helps eliminate procrastination. “You feel more committed to doing it,” she said. “And it’s easy and fun.”

Participants pay a one time $5 fee for each category until they reach Wellness Walkers Plus when they then pay $5 per semester. For more information, contact Cindy Cowden at 777-3125.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08