Campus Trekkers Promotes Workplace Walking
Campus Trekkers is a new NMU wellness program that allows employees to make productive use of their break time without leaving their respective buildings. Participants meet weekly with a wellness representative for indoor stretches and walks on designated routes, useful health information and camaraderie.
“I think it’s awesome that NMU offers this and I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to take advantage of it,” said Muriel Kangas (Education), pictured second from left with other members of the Whitman Walkers. “You don’t have to change clothes—you just put on your tennis shoes and meet in the foyer. Walking is great because it’s low impact and most everyone can do it. We talk while we’re exercising, which is one of the perks in addition to getting healthy. Our group goes out on our own other days just to be more active. You feel so good when you’re done.”
In addition to Whitman Hall, there are walking groups in C.B. Hedgcock, the University Center, Cohodas Hall, the Services Building and Jacobetti.
“The routes are mapped out for each building so people can see the exact distance and there are levels ranging from beginner to intermediate to advanced, depending on how many stairs they climb,” said Megan Meeuwsen, the employee wellness graduate assistant. “It’s going very well for the first semester and I have a feeling it will pick up in the winter when the weather turns colder and there is snow and ice on the ground.”
Walking schedules and routes are available at NMU Wellness. Meeuwsen said NMU has been designated a “fit-friendly” institution through the American Heart Association’s national movement that calls on individuals and their employers to create a culture of physical activity and health through walking. A key component is MyStart! Online. Meeuwsen encourages NMU employees to sign up—anonymously, if they prefer—to track their daily physical activity and dietary intake, receive progress summaries and e-newsletters and gain access to health-related resources.
Meeuwsen said Campus Trekkers was the result of a collaboration between Recreational Sports and the previous wellness grad assistant. Other activities at NMU designed to create a healthy worksite are: a weekly wellness tip, monthly newsletter, family fitness events, wellness habit hours that address specific topics, a new YouTube channel with videos featuring Wildcat Willy.
“We’re changing and expanding, trying to get more involvement on campus,” she added. “Word of mouth helps and we’ve seen some growth already. Anyone with questions or comments can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”