Athlete-students

The Blugold steps to staying in shape

Sam Johnson

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September 27, 2022
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Photo by Bridget Kelley

The stairs between the hill and Horan Hall are another exhaustingly great way to stay in shape.

A Blugold, minutes after a failed math quiz, begins the long and miserable march home from class. Halfway up the hill, their smartwatch vibrates — they reached their fitness goals for the day.

No matter how college is going in the classroom, the commutes to and from offer plenty of chances to stay in shape.

It’s the climb

UW-Eau Claire is a very bumpy campus — which is the weirdest possible way to say there are plenty of stairs, hills and other changes in elevation.

The most obvious one is the hill. I’m in horrific shape, so every single trip up the hill leaves me sweaty and sore every time I walk it. It feels bad but in a good way.

Gym memberships are expensive, the hill is free. If Blugolds need a workout, they should walk until those legs fall off.

Fun fact: living on upper campus isn’t the only way to walk the hill. Any Blugold can walk up and down it as much as they want/need to.

More easy exercise comes from all the stairs on campus. There’s the Davies back stairs, those menacing stairs on the hill, and the countless stairs in all the dorms and lower campus buildings.

I know the Centennial elevators are intriguing, but skipping them is a great way to sneak some extra steps. Those tall ceilings mean more steps.

Hibbard has a lot of floors, which means it has a lot of stairs. Most classes are on the first three stories, which means there’s a lot of exploring to do. Go check out the penthouse, learn about Hibbard’s secrets and get steps in while you do it.

I’m not a nerd, so I’ve never been to the library, but I’ve heard it has books and stairs in it. Go study and knock ‘homework’ and ‘exercise’ off your to-do list. 

According to Lea Kopke, fifth-year journalism and German student, and a very nerdy friend of mine (she’s in the band, yuck), it also has stationary bikes for students to pedal their assigned readings away.

Going the distance

Another benefit of UW-Eau Claire’s exercise opportunities is that nearly everything is within walking distance. 

It’s hard to make it to Altoona or the Oakwood Mall — where people of all ages can channel their inner old person via power walking — on foot, but most places in Eau Claire have sidewalk access and paths perfect for strolling. 

If anybody wants to stay in shape, walking as much as possible and exploring the town are great first (of 10,000) steps.

Eau Claire has a ton of great coffee shops, walk to them.

Downtown Eau Claire has fun shopping, walk to it, then walk around it.

The James Newman Clark Bird Museum is cool (and also kind of strange), walk to it, then around it before Phillips joins Putnam and Katherine Thomas Halls in retirement.

Carson park has museums, nature, a lake and a train sometimes, walk to it, then walk around it.

I think I’ve made my point. Especially for first-year Blugolds, Eau Claire has a lot of cool stuff and a lot of ways to exercise. Walk away from that lonely dorm-induced homesickness toward new experiences.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected]