Mason’s Campuses to Unite for Health Walk

Posted: September 21, 2009 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: September 18, 2009 at 3:50 pm

By Dave Andrews

Some say, “No pain, no gain.” But that’s not necessarily true. It’s surprisingly easy to walk a mile. And it’s good for you, too.

Wellness by Mason, a university-wide health initiative, is kicking off Mason’s first ever Happy Heart Walk this Wednesday, Sept. 23. The walk begins at noon, and participants will cover approximately one mile of ground on campus.

All three of Mason’s campuses are coordinating similar walks to be held at the same time. This is the first time a widespread, simultaneous health walk has been coordinated at Mason.

Wellness by Mason was created about one year ago by Patrice Winter, elder care and life planning services coordinator in Human Resources and Payroll and term assistant professor in the Department of Global and Community Health.

Winter came in with the idea that Mason shouldn’t only be looking at “greening” its campuses through sustainable buildings, but that it should also be “greening” its people.

“The bottom line is that people are happier and enjoy life more fully when they’re healthy,” says Winter. “The Happy Heart Walk is meant to help everyone realize that it’s not that hard to stay active, and you feel great while doing it.”

Each campus has a “champion” to lead their respective group. Lori Cohen will lead the Arlington group. Ron Carmichael will lead the Prince William group. And leading the Fairfax Campus group will be President Alan Merten and his wife, Sally, along with the Mason Patriot.

On the Fairfax Campus, everyone will meet at the George Mason statue and head through the Johnson Center North Plaza, pass Southside, up to Masonvale and then down through the Chesapeake residence halls.

On the Arlington Campus, given that walking trails are sparse in such an urban area, the group will meet in the lobby of the Original Building and walk outside around the half-mile block twice.

At the Prince William Campus, the group will take the one-mile walking trail that was just completed. The trail goes through a wooded area and passes by the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center. People will meet at the tent in the Bull Run Hall parking lot.

The Happy Heart Walk is a precursor to The American Heart Association’s annual walk in November. Winter thinks this is a great opportunity to get people thinking about staying healthy and finding ways to stay motivated.

“Even more so than our beautiful new academic facilities, our greatest resource here at Mason is our people,” Winter says. “Our students, faculty and staff are capable of doing great things. This walk will be an excellent example of us coming together to work as a team and to encourage one another.”

Not only does Winter envision this becoming an annual event, but she sees countless benefits to eventually creating a “Walking Wednesday” at Mason during the lunch hour.

Winter is working with Mason Facilities to identify the best walking routes on the Fairfax Campus and designate them with Wellness by Mason signs to make it easy for walkers to monitor their progress.

For more information, see the Happy Heart Walk flyer. To participate in the walk, go to the HR registration page .

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