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University Continues Health Kick with New Walking Path
Banning tobacco use from university property and adding a wellness director to the staff was just the beginning. The Oklahoma City University campus has now charted a walking path, replete with medallions embedded in the concrete, to continue encouraging better physical fitness. Valerie Robinson, OCU wellness director, found grant money available from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation (OCCF) to map out and label the walking path. “The only stipulation was that it had to be available to the community,” Robinson said. The facilities crew found bright blue metal medallions to serve as marking points and plotted a path 1.33 miles, mostly around the outskirts of the 104-acre scenic campus. The north portion of the path leads onto campus to take advantage of better walking conditions, she added. Robinson then came up with a way to get more walkers to use the path. A fitness challenge called “Start! 2008” adds an incentive to build a healthier lifestyle. Teams of three to five people must walk an average of at least 12,000 steps per week for six weeks to fulfill the challenge. And for those who prefer getting around via bicycle, Robinson has a conversion chart to turn pedal strokes into steps. The chart includes several other fitness activities including heavy gardening and Pilates. Some OCU staffers already have experience in meeting organized walking goals. A team of a couple dozen representatives participated in a citywide challenge sponsored by the OCCF early this year called “Get Moving OKC!,” which paid teams money per mile to go toward a non-profit project of their choice. Robinson said OCU’s earnings from the event might go to enhance the new campus walking trail with planting trees. But her more immediate goal was getting the campus challenge started on good footing. “I hope every single one of them meets the challenge, and I hope they have fun doing it,” she said.