Campuses take initiatives to improve health
Alicia Smith | Friday, January 21, 2011
For some fresh air and exercise, Saint Mary’s College Women’s Health created a program offering students, faculty and staff the opportunity to come together for a community walk each weekday at 12:15 p.m., Catherine DeCleene, director of Women’s Health said.
“We began the walks because walking at a moderate pace for 30 to 60 minutes burns stored fat and can build muscle to speed up your metabolism,” she said. “Walking is also associated with cutting your risk of heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes and stroke.”
Women’s Health held the first walk on Monday.
According to DeCleene, walkers meet each day at the mailbox outside of Holy Cross Hall. Walkers then proceed to walk one mile around campus.
DeCleene said the walks will increase to two miles as the weather improves.
“Let’s face it, everyone tries to begin each year in a healthy, positive light,” DeCleene said. “What better way than you take a few minutes out of your day to enjoy the beauty of the Saint Mary’s campus, meet new people, get some exercise and break your day up.”
According to DeCleene, about 12 to 15 people have participated in walks each day thus far.
“Most people already know the importance of exercise for a healthy life, but still fail to get started,” DeCleene said. “It is a well-documented and accepted fact that exercise is essential for ensuring that body systems and functions work properly. People who do not exercise on a regular basis suffer from various ailments and diseases as they grow older, including the problem of obesity.”
DeCleene said walking can be just as effective as jogging and can improve physical fitness.
“Walking burns approximately the same amount of calories per mile as does running, a fact particularly appealing to those who find it difficult to sustain the jarring effects of long distance jogging,” she said. “Brisk walking one mile in 15 minutes burns just about the same number of calories as jogging an equal distance in eight and a half minutes.”
DeCleene encourages everyone to attend the walks, emphasizing the importance of exercise for a healthy lifestyle.
“Often dismissed in the past as being too easy to be taken seriously, walking recently has gained new respect as a means of improving physical fitness,” she said. “Studies show that, when done briskly on a regular schedule, it can improve the body’s ability to consume oxygen during exertion, lower the resting heart rate, reduce blood pressure and increase the efficiency of the heart and lungs. It also helps burn excess calories.”