Students encouraged to ‘get their walk on’

Tennis shoes, gym shorts and perspiration bands may be common in some closets of college students, but with the new Walking Counts initiative encouraged by the Wellness Center, every University of Miami student may want to get in on the exercising action.

The program suggests that students walk to classes and nearby destinations instead of using the Hurry ‘Cane shuttles.

Ashley Falcon, assistant director of Wellness Programs, along with other Wellness Center staff, has designed flyers explaining the benefits of a moderately active routine. The flyer reads, “If done regularly, walking will reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, lower total cholesterol, raise healthy HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure.”

The flyers also give information regarding steps, time and calories burned when a student walks from one part of campus to another.

For example, the chart says that walking from Eaton Residential College to the University Center will require 560 steps, take 5.1 minutes and burn 28 calories.

The flyers are now posted on the 14 main bus stops around campus, and will also be located in other frequently visited areas such as the I-Lounge in the UC.

Norman Parsons, Jr., director of Wellness and Recreation and head of the Walking Counts initiative, said the program’s aim is to promote the goal of walking 10,000 steps everyday.

“This number may seem like a lot for some students, but considering the walk from the Wellness Center to Richter Library takes [1,660 steps], it might not be unreasonable at all,” Parsons said.
The Wellness Center also plans to create a “personal fitness diary” tool on the website, so that students and faculty can upload information and track their own progress.

“The point of these programs is to make gradual lifestyle changes,” Falcon said. “Students and faculty should perceive fitness as a way of life and not stop after a couple of pounds have been dropped.”

A Walking Counts kickoff ceremony is scheduled to take place at the fountain near the Ashe Building, but the date is yet to be determined. The Wellness Center encourages students and faculty to attend, and free pedometers will be provided.

Coincidentally, the American College of Sports Medicine, along with the American Heart Association, is also encouraging people to get moving, and has updated its physical-activity guidelines for the first time in 12 years. For more information visit

Karyn Meshbane contributed to this article.

Carla Kerstens may be contacted at

Walking distances from the UC

Academic Buildings

Learning Center
400 steps/3.6 minutes
360 steps/3.3 minutes
On-campus Housing
560 steps/5.1 minutes
820 steps/7.5 minutes
560 steps/5.1 minutes
600 steps/5.5 minutes
University Village
1,700 steps/15.5 minutes

Wellness and Recreation

Bank United Center
1,180 steps/10.7 minutes
180 steps/1.6 minutes
Wellness Center
1,020 steps/9.3 minutes

Additional Locations

Ashe Building
280 steps/2.5 minutes
Metrorail University Station
1,280 steps/11.6 minutes
Pavia Parking Garage
340 steps/3.1 minutes
Ponce Parking Garage
1,500 steps/13.6 minutes

Courtesy University Wellness and Recreation

September 13, 2007


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