The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Athlete Students: How much do college students walk?

Walking through college: 47 minutes and 3 seconds at a time.
Photo by Marisa Valdez

The biggest shock coming into college for me wasn’t the work-load shift or the population change from a high school with 200 students to an undergraduate enrollment of nearly 9,000: it was the amount of walking I was unprepared to do.

As college students, we walk a lot. More than the average adult, and the hill has to count for double the effort whether you face the painstaking elevation head-on or take the ten-minute stair climb. It’s crazy to think that we spend so much time walking around campus.

Part of this feels like a piece of college culture. Having a walkable community is a huge advantage to living on campus, especially for first-year students. Everything you need is within a 15-minute walk, and that’s another marketable point for UW-Eau Claire if you can walk everywhere.

The downside is that you have to walk everywhere.

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I thought at first that maybe I was overreacting. The terrible walks across the bridge and up the hill are something everyone can agree to loathe, but surely I wasn’t spending that much time walking.

I searched for other people who felt similar to me. Maybe I was an outlier walking way too much during my days, but a student who wrote for Forbes in 2016 clocked his time spent walking between classes throughout his day. He hit 31 hours and 15 minutes in just one semester. 

A student I know with a pedometer took 54,363 steps in one workweek compared to the average adult in the United States getting 30,000 steps in the same amount of time. 

Looking at the numbers, UW-Eau Claire’s campus is 333 acres with 28 major buildings. That’s a lot of land to get around. How much was I walking during the day?

On Monday, Feb. 26, I did a similar experiment to the Forbes article. I took the stopwatch on my phone and clocked the amount of time I spent walking between classes each day. 

I spent 47 minutes and 3 seconds walking just in between classes that day.

No wonder my Spotify statistics have skyrocketed since I started classes at Eau Claire. I have the habit of listening to podcasts or music during the longer portions of walking across campus. The journey between Upper Campus and Lower Campus each day is definitely a big contributor to this. 

Taking the time to track the amount of walking I do shed light on why I feel like I walk so much. The class I spend 50 minutes in four days of the week is counted as four credit hours. If I counted my walking time as a class, that’s five credit hours of walking. That train of thought led me to a few different realizations.

What else could I use this time for? Walking almost an hour every day probably has its health benefits, but beyond that, I think there’s another benefit. Walking across campus you can see the majority of people are zoned in on their walks between classes.

What if we took those minutes between classes to step out of a student mindset for a minute? Instead of diving head-down into bustling, packed sidewalks and thinking about our third writing assignment, we could really take that time to relax.

Everybody needs a break. Taking that walk in between classes to tap out for just a few minutes does add up. It’s important to take our time, especially in the hustle culture everybody pushes in college. 

Next time you find yourself heading from Hibbard Humanities Hall to McIntyre Library on the other side of campus, maybe think less about the hour’s worth of walking you do. Think about enjoying some music or a podcast, getting a chance to chat with a friend outside of class or maybe just taking a relaxing stroll around campus.

Pawlisch can be reached at [email protected].

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