Choosing to take the escalator instead of the stairs allows us to reach our destination faster and easier; choosing to send an e-mail or make a phone call to a co-worker down the hall instead of walking to their workplace is thought to be more productive. The human body is designed to move regularly throughout the day, but it is often the environment that we live and work in that discourages us from living active, healthy lives.
Healthy IU, Indiana University’s employee wellness program, is on a mission to educate, empower, and provide environmental tools to encourage members of the IU community to live their best lives.
This past year, we have put much effort into making enhancements to each of IU’s eight campuses to promote moving more throughout the day. One project that we have been working on since the summer of 2014 is the development of walking trails, starting at IU Bloomington.
Last summer, we teamed up with the School of Public Health to develop four walking trails on the Bloomington campus, each approximately one mile in length. These trails feature some of the most beautiful walking locations on campus. We are currently working with IU Communications and the Architect’s Office to develop art for trail markers and to install the markers on these trails before the fall 2015 semester. Healthy IU hopes that developing, marking, and promoting these walking trails on campus encourages the IU community to be more active during the day and to take advantage of the beautiful campus that surrounds us.
There are many physical and mental health benefits to sitting less and moving more. These benefits include weight control, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, increased bone and muscle strength, and improved mood. Additionally, physical activity can help you think more creatively, problem-solve, and be more productive at work. Evidence also suggests that spending time in green space provides additional mental health benefits.
You can find a map of the four Bloomington campus walking trails on the Healthy IU website. I encourage you to print these maps and invite fellow co-workers to join you on campus walks during your lunch hour or before or after work hours. Another possibility is to plan on having your next meeting on-the-go instead of sitting around a table — you may find it easier to brainstorm new ideas and problem solve when on the move!
Healthy IU has also focused efforts on making available healthy vending options and developing signage to promote stair use on campus. For more information on the healthy vending locations, the stairwell initiative, and current Healthy IU offerings, visit our website: healthy.iu.edu, and find us on Facebook and Twitter.
Have a happy, healthy day!