Take a Walk: The Benefits of Walking to Class

Photo from news.psu.edu

Most Penn Staters can agree that a 15 minute walk is next to nothing. Leaving a half hour early for class? Normal! But what some Penn Staters may not realize is how many benefits there are to skipping the White Loop and taking a stroll to every class. VALLEY is here to fill you in on the many advantages of walking to class.

Physical Health

First and foremost is physical health. Walking is an activity that burns calories and works muscles. With crazy college schedules, finding time to squeeze in a workout can be a challenge. Walking to class can make up for what was missed on the treadmill. A walk from the edge of the HUB lawn to Forum is half a mile, and a full mile round trip. No matter what else happens in a day, that’s already a full mile of physical exercise.

Walking, especially through the hilly campus of Penn State, tones and develops various muscles in the lower body. It is also proven that frequent walkers burn more calories at rest than those who do not walk frequently. Further, walking can help with the prevention of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and various heart conditions. Penn State’s campus offers students the perfect opportunity to take advantage of these physical benefits, so get on out there!

Mental Health

Mental health is absolutely vital to take care of, especially in the high stress environment of college. Luckily for Penn State students, walking has been shown to boost mental health. Not only this, but taking a nice walk can also reduce stress and anxiety, and improve self-esteem. The physical activity of walking boosts endorphins, which cause people to feel less stress and more positive feelings.

Not only is the act of walking good for mental health, but so is fresh air in general. Even in the winter! According to Dixie Sandborn of Michigan State University in this article, breathing fresh air causes lungs to work at their full capability and leads to a positive increase in mood and productivity. Next time the stress of college or a gray day is too much to handle, try bundling up and stepping outside, even in bad weather!

Environmentally Friendly

Looking around at the amount of cars driving through State College can certainly put into perspective the damage being done to the earth. By walking to class, valuable resources are being saved as well as reducing greenhouse gases. It is an easy way to create a smaller carbon footprint. According to Iowa Healthiest State Initiative, motor vehicles account for nearly 80 percent of carbon monoxide emissions in the Unites States. By simply leaving for class a few minutes early and walking, Penn State can help to reduce this number significantly.

Avoiding the Buses

All students at Penn State have a love-hate relationship with the downtown CATA buses. They are convenient and run well, but just so crowded. Nobody wins when they’re smushed between a backpack and a stranger and have to hope they don’t stomp on the toes of those around them. Luckily for bus riders, there is an easy solution to avoid this situation, and it’s by walking!

Not only can walking eliminate the stress and frustration of a crowded bus, but it also allows for more social interaction. Penn State is a big school, but it feels small because of the tight-knit community. The chances of passing a friend walking through campus are pretty high.

Penn State being a walkable campus is something that Penn Staters pride themselves on and there are countless reasons to take advantage of it. Improving physical and mental health, seeing friends and avoiding crowded buses all while being environmentally friendly! Eventually students will graduate and become commuters who sit in traffic every day, so be sure to take advantage of getting outdoors while the opportunity is there.

Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, with your thoughts on walking to class!

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