KINGSTON- Students and Faculty at the University of Rhode Island joined together to kick off the URI Community “Walk-a-While Wednesdays” on Wednesday, Oct.2.
The “Walk- a While” event was created by the College of Human Science and Services and the Department of Kinesiology as way to promote and improve fitness around the campus. Students and faculty from the Department of Kinesiology acted as walking coaches during the lunch time stroll and will be present every Wednesday to guide walkers through each work session.
“Physical activity is really important for people but with all of the technology and all of the work people have, we spend a lot of time sitting and they are not getting activity throughout the day so we decided to have something to motivate people to actually get out and get moving for at least a half-an-hour a day,” said Kinesiology Department Chair Deborah Riebe. “It can be for students in between their classes and especially for faculty during their lunch hour to actually spend some of it getting up and moving because you know extended periods of sitting are not the healthy thing to do.”
The kickoff walk on Wednesday was a ceremonial walk of everyone together, but for the future strolls the walking coaches will divide into groups to better accommodate each walker by ability level, said Riebe.
Each participant is provided walking fact sheets and a map of walking paths that the students mapped and measured on campus. Each walking path has varying lengths which enables all fitness levels to participate.
The fact sheets include a list of physical, mental, and social benefits that can be received from walking on a regular basis. Some physical benefits listed are reducing back pain, improving your mood, and decreasing stress. Other benefits on the sheet were meeting new people and burning calories.
Riebe hopes to increase awareness for the program in the future and encourages everyone, even residents of the area, to come and participate.
“I really want to increase the awareness that we have this program going on and make it fun and exciting so we are having a warm up and hopefully we are attracting people who don’t normally do this, we are hoping to attract people who are maybe reluctant to try it but will see that really just walking is enough to get health benefits,” said Riebe. “ I think people really underestimate how many health benefits they get from a simple 30 minute walk, especially if they do it on a regular basis so it is really a huge health outreach for the campus.”
URI President David M. Dooley arrived to the event wearing his athletic sneakers and said that he was looking forward to kicking off this health initiative on the campus.
Dooley said that he believes this event is a great opportunity for students, faculty, and staff and hopes to generate more programs like this for students in the future.
“This is a great idea, for one I think it matters to everybody to be as healthy as they can be. It matters to the University to have everybody healthy and feeling good about themselves and this helps all of it,” said Dooley. “I am participating today and depending on my schedule I would love to come to future walks; I really do enjoy walking so I think that would be great.”
The names of participants who attend at least 8 walking sessions will be submitted into a raffle for a pair of sneakers donated from Feet First Quality Footwear. The walk sessions will be held every Wednesday at 12p.m. throughout the fall semester.