BY DONNA RHODES
PLYMOUTH — More than 155 employees of Plymouth State University laced up their sneakers to enjoy a nice walk around the campus on June 4 as part of the new Healthy PSU program.
Dr. Barbara McCahan heads up the Health and Human Performance Program at PSU, and was one of the many who took part in last week’s group walk.
“We just want to encourage our staff to stay physically active,” she said.
Helping with that goal is Denise Normandin, a Registered Dietician Nutritionist and the new program manager for Healthy PSU who joined the staff in February.
Normandin has proclaimed the first Wednesday of each month a designated “Sneaker Day” to encourage her fellow employees to wear their sneakers to the office so they can spend their lunch time walking the campus and surrounding town.
“We’re trying to make a shift in the culture and create an environment for everyone to make healthy choices,” she said. “The heart is a muscle, and needs exercise, too. To help them get out and do that, we have several routes mapped out that people can walk during lunch.”
Approximately 15 teams of walkers, along with some individual registrants, gathered in front of the Hartman Building at noon last Wednesday to all walk together. Family members, pets, and even some employees who are on summer break also joined in the fun.
One team, the Lamson Common Soles, was excited to have so many friends share their lunchtime walk.
“I’ve been walking a long time, but it’s a lot more fun in a group. I’m already inspired by everyone who’s here today, and I haven’t even walked a step yet,” said library staff member Anne Jung-Mathews.
As a result of their initiative to encourage wellness in the workplace, PSU recently received an award from the American Heart Association.
All participants received a Healthy PSU tee shirt and a pen that will help remind them to “Be Active, Eat Well and Reduce Stress.”
“It’s been great to be able to help create a community of wellness here at PSU,” said Normandin.