Walktober emphasizes campus fitness

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Walktober emphasizes campus fitness

Story by Sara

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As the autumn leaves begin to change color, the sidewalks of Baldwin City may be filled with visitors. However, that might not be the only reason more people are walking around the Baker University campus.

October is also National Walking Month, so Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the Douglas County Community Health Improvement Partnership, or CHIP, are hosting Walktober, which is a month-long walking campaign.

Ruth Sarna, director of student health services, is collecting registration forms from Baker students, faculty and staff.

“October is such a beautiful time to be out,” Sarna said. “And I think just trying to be active and especially the new students if they are worried about gaining weight, that walking is an excellent activity.”

Lawrence Memorial and the CHIP board have been hosting the event for six years and Baker has hosted participants for the last five years. Last year approximately 25 faculty and staff members and 10 students participated, including junior Bailey Buchman.

“I’m big into exercise,” Buchman said. “I used to work at the (Baldwin Athletic Club) in town, and I’m all about getting other people to exercise with me.”

Buchman has always walked to exercise, but she signed up for Walktober for the “extra initiative” and benefits.

Aynsley Anderson, Lawrence Memorial Hospitalcommunity education coordinator sends out three emails per week with fitness and health advice.<br/>

“The other component of the program is we give people nutrition, health and fitness tips and healthy recipes,” Anderson said. “So, hopefully they’ll be able to take away some of those and use them in the future.”

Walktober participants are encouraged to walk more than 8,000 steps a day, a goal many Americans do not reach.

“A large percentage of people in our country are sedentary,” Anderson said. “So, this is just sort of a way to hopefully get people out and be a little more active and ideally get them on a program they will be able to maintain.”

Buchman has continued walking to exercise and used the program as a way to help herself and others.

“I liked it because I got to walk with my friends,” Buchman said. “We set aside time to walk and that was the time we got to see each other, chat and keep up with our lives.”

Participants can form teams or personalize their own walking program.

“I think the beauty of this program is that it’s individual,” Sarna said. “So, if they need to walk on their lunch hour or walk home in the evenings (they can.)”

Sarna said eight participants have signed up, including students from the School of Professional and Graduate Studies in Overland Park.

“The SPGS people are responding, too,” Sarna said. “So (word is) spreading,”

Baker students and faculty should contact Sarna for more information. Others interested in Walktober should contact Anderson at [email protected]