The walk to and from classes is a relentless topic among students on small and large campuses alike. Too long, too hot, too cold – even on temperate San Diego school days I frequently hear students complain about the trek from the dorms or parking lot to main buildings.
What gives? The gyms are packed after 4:30 p.m. but an extra ¼ mile on our feet after Biochem is such a chore? Try on a new attitude about walking and see how the simple act of walking can improve your overall wellness.
The Mayo Clinic reports that on stressful, busy days the thirty extra minutes you spend in transition from class to class can be the most important thing you do for your body. Walking reduces blood pressure, lowers levels of lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol, and helps manage weight by burning up to 500 extra calories a day. How’s that for a mood booster? Plus, taking time to decompress before diving into more work will help reduce brain fatigue in the long run.
In the October issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, a study found that Americans take just over 5000 steps a day; just half of the 10,000 steps recommended by the US Surgeon General and half that of residents of Australia, Switzerland, and Japan. Get stepping, in other words, and get healthy.
Keep it old school and time yourself for at least an hour of walking a day. An easy way to track your steps is to pick up a cheap pedometer at your local athletic store. Even cooler is the FitBit; a gadget that counts steps, calories burned, and even tracks your sleep patterns. No matter the method, take advantage of your sprawling campus and get in your 10,000 steps every day this semester.
Kelsey Brown will make it through her final year at University of San Diego with good music, good friends, and lots of walking. She writes about healthy hearts, tummies, and minds at Happyolks.com.