New campaign encourages students to get out and walk a mile on Mondays

Monday Mile, a new Healthy Monday program, seeks to make exercise approachable and enjoyable for the Syracuse community.

Students living on South Campus should look out for the colorful signs reading “The Monday Mile,” which will be installed on street poles along Skytop Road soon. 

Monday Mile is a campaign launched by the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at the Maxwell School for the purpose of encouraging the Syracuse public to walk one mile on Mondays. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner proclaimed the official opening of the program after finishing her own Monday Mile walk on Sept. 10.

Amy Ludovici, a sophomore health and exercise major and a South Campus resident said she had already seen the signs for Monday Mile around campus.

“I think it’s pretty cool. I’d love to walk it someday,” she said.

The Monday Movements

Monday Mile is part of the Healthy Monday national campaign initiated in 2005 by the Maxwell School, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In the past seven years, the Healthy Monday Campaign has created several programs advocating healthy habits, including Meatless Monday and Quit and Stay Quit Monday.

“By organizing many of our activities around Monday, we are tapping into the cultural mindset that Monday affords a fresh start,” said Ian Grant, a graduate assistant with the Lerner Center and an organizer for the Healthy Monday program. “We like to say that it's the day that all health breaks loose!"

An Approachable Exercise

The major goal of this specific walking program, Grant said, is to help everyone achieve their weekly exercise targets.

The amount of weekly physical aerobatic activity recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is 150 minutes. In 2010, only 48 percent of American adults met this requirement. 

An array of obstacles prevent people from getting enough exercise, including lack of facilities, age, social-economic status, and for many SU students, time. 

“I have a lot of readings to do; I just don’t have time,” said Grace Vallejo, a sophomore biology major. “To get ready, go to a gym, have a shower--after all that, I usually want to go to sleep because I am too tired.”

Leah Braxon, a graduate assistant with the Learner Center, recognized this challenge. 

“It is easy for us to get caught up in the most pressing parts of our day and neglect exercise by telling ourselves we'll get to it later,” Braxon said. “What is important in developing public health programs is to communicate that even small efforts can make a big difference.”

Walking requires no lengthy preparation, advanced equipment or special skill. It’s safe and simple. 

That’s exactly why the Healthy Monday campaign focuses on walking, an approachable exercise that almost anyone can do, Grant said.  

“Walking is a nice time to just think and listen to music; it’s a good experience,” said Ethan While, a freshman chemical engineering major.

Staying Fit On Campus

Organizers of Monday Mile designed 10 one-mile loops near country and city parks, Syracuse City Hall and Syracuse University. One loop is located right on South Campus. 

By following any route maps that they have posted online, you can accomplish a one-mile walk that takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes. 

“We've found that all the current Monday Mile sites are walkable, safe, well-maintained and several are quite scenic, ” Grant said, “As the program develops, we will be expanding into other parks and schools in the area.”

Many students living on South Campus expressed a willingness to participate in the movement. 

Julie Allison, a sophomore who has not yet declared a major, said she is very interested in walking the Monday Mile. 

“It’s better to walk everyday instead of just sitting on a couch,” she said while on her way to the fitness center on South Campus. 

Walking also offers an alternative to get to destinations without solely relying on public transportation. 

“It gives me the ability to go wherever I want to go,” said Mike Nadaol, a sophomore international relations major.

For many students, walking means more than just keeping in shape. 

“Walking and running do not just make you healthy; they let you feel good about yourself,” Ludovici said. "That’s what I enjoy most."


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