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Auburn University President Jay Gogue used to wear a pedometer in his attempt to walk 10,000 steps, or approximately five miles, a day.
He did it to be active and healthy, but then he figured out how he could reach the goal without a step counter. He would need to walk around his driveway a number of times, walk to different locations on campus throughout the day, and even spend time on the treadmill at home.
It's an idea Gogue and other university officials hope university employees and students will be willing to emulate now that the campus has three new walking routes, marked with Auburn orange tiger paws.
"We want our people to be healthy, but we really want them to lead by example for our students," said Gogue to a crowd gathered to officially open the new routes.
Tammy Hollis, coordinator of the Healthy Tigers Wellness Initiative, Auburn's employee wellness program, said the idea of creating marked trails came from the campus Health and Wellness Committee who wanted to encourage everyone who visits Auburn University to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
"Our campus is so beautiful and has become more pedestrian-friendly in recent years; it just seemed logical to provide everyone with an opportunity to be healthy while they're here," she said.
The university had similar walking paths throughout campus years ago, but many of the painted paws have faded or worn off completely, making it difficult to follow a route.
This summer, the university's Facilities Division painted new Auburn orange tiger paw prints around campus to designate the three new trails – two 1-mile loops and one 3-mile loop. They also painted paws on off-road walkways (along Wire Road to the College of Veterinary Medicine, Samford Avenue and Donahue Drive) with each quarter mile increment marked with a large paw.
Karla McCormick, executive director of Payroll and Employee Benefits, said the walking trails are another resource "for employees and students of Auburn to live healthier lifestyles."
Auburn University is bound for a new era in wellness as the new smoking policy, which prohibits smoking within 25 feet of university buildings, went into effect with the start of the fall semester and the new recreation and wellness center is slated to be completed next spring. Hollis said she hopes there will be an opportunity to incorporate the Healthy Tigers program into the new center.
"We will continue to grow and see what else we can come up with to encourage people to lead a healthy lifestyle and use the resources here on campus," she said. "It's about more than getting the screenings; it's also about changing your lifestyle and incorporating exercise into it."
To learn more about the Auburn University Healthy Tigers Wellness Initiative and view maps of all paths, visit the Healthy Tigers website at www.auburn.edu/healthytigers.
Last Updated: Aug. 20, 2012