With walking shoes tied and water in hand, University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast employees and students took to the streets of the Gulf Park campus for a one-mile walk to kick off WOW! (Working on Wellness), a program focused on developing healthier lifestyles at the university.
The WOW! Walk invited participants to test the newly mapped path encompassing the university’s campus in Long Beach, Miss. The map, available on the Southern Miss Gulf Coast Web site, allows students and employees to gauge their walking distance and help them reach the recommended 10,000 steps each day.
“Many positive things are happening at Southern Miss Gulf Coast,” said Michelle Fleming, the team leader for WOW! “The walking path features many beautiful areas of our campus. In addition to our walk, we hope that WOW! encourages our employees and students to take part in a variety of other healthy activities offered at the university and the local community.”
The WOW! program features weekly meetings for participants to learn various ways of improving health, wellness and fitness training. These meetings include information on understanding food portion size, how to correctly use a pedometer and a variety of other topics.
“Having a wellness program in place at Southern Miss Gulf Coast is very important to the health of our students and employees,” said Dr. Frances Lucas, vice president and campus executive officer for Southern Miss Gulf Coast. “This program brings our community together as we work to adopt healthier lifestyles.”
In addition to providing information and resources, WOW! also encourages improved health and wellness through challenges between participants. Currently, WOW! is featuring the Mardi Gras Mambo Challenge where participants are challenged to walk nearly 150 miles, the distance from the Gulf Park campus to New Orleans and back. Using pedometers to count steps, participants successful in this contest will reach their 10,000 recommended daily steps in the two-week challenge.
For more information about WOW! at Southern Miss Gulf Coast, visit www.usm.edu/gc/wow.