Walkers mobilize to fight bad habits

Nearly 100 walkers hit the pavement for National Walk@Lunch Day last month.

“The main goal of the event was to encourage employees to have a healthier lifestyle,” said Renee Larson, coordinator of the benefits office in Temple’s human resources department. “This is the start of spring, and we are encouraging people to get out and do something easy and fun.”

Larson said she strives to create healthy working conditions for employees. She said the event was held in conjunction with the Independent Blue Cross Blue Shield’s National Walk@Lunch Day.

“Other schools and organizations have been participating in this annual event for years,” she said, “but this is the first time that we have decided to bring it to Temple.”

“Our managers said, ‘Let’s take a walk,’ so we went,” said Van Nguyen, an employee in the information technology department. “Walking is more fun than working or sitting on our butts during our lunch hour. It’s better than being tied down and inactive.”

Smiling walkers were found all around the Founder’s Garden, where walkers met.

“Walking is a required part of being in college,” said Keith Engelbart, a freshman criminal justice major. “I guess employees are stuffed into their offices all day, so I can see why they would want to get out.”

Most walkers were happy to leave their offices behind to get into the cool, fresh April air.

Many employees submitted ballots to be included in a drawing to win free benefits from the Independence Blue Cross.

Before participants began walking, giveaways such as pedometers, first aid kits and safety blinkers for night walkers were distributed.

The uniformed crowd, donned in white-and-blue “Walk” T-shirts, compliments of Independence Blue Cross, attracted a lot of attention.

“This event is part of our employee wellness and incentive program,” Johnston said. “A walking club has existed on campus for the past five years, but this event hopes to attract new participants.”

Though walkers didn’t quite garner the same energy as the Penn Relays, most walkers appeared to be in high spirits and looked forward to making the walk a start to healthier habits.

Anitra Wicks, an administrative specialist in the HR department, has worked at Temple for five years. She said she does not walk on a regular basis.

“That’s why I’m out here today,” Wicks said. “I would really like to begin a more healthy routine. Everything about the walking club promotes a healthy lifestyle, and I would like to improve my own lifestyle some.”

Quentin Williams can be reached at quentin@temple.edu.

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