While walking on campus is unavoidable, the Wellness Center is hoping to make the process more beneficial and more enjoyable with its online iWalk Toolkit. The toolkit is frequently updated, with two new walking routes and several resources added recently.
The website provides 14 suggested walks that were chosen based on "walkability" and are divided into two categories. Some walks are the best way to efficiently get from one side of campus to another, for example, to attend a meeting. The other walks were created for fitness and enjoyment and are typically more aesthetically pleasing.
The two new walks - the Research Park trail walk and the Arboretum/Japan House walk - fall into the latter category. The Research Park trail walk aims to increase the scope of walking on campus, by extending walk options into a newer section of campus. The Arboretum/Japan House walk highlights features along an already popular path.
For each of the featured walks, the website provides a detailed map of the route, the approximate number of steps, the distance, average time to complete, additions to lengthen the walk, highlights along the route and other notes. The walks' completion times range from 10 minutes to 45 minutes.
The first walks were created after extensive path-identifying audits were conducted by volunteers across campus in 2011. Each path received a score, and from those results the best routes were chosen.
The website also includes tips on safety, stretching, staying motivated, the 10,000 Steps Program, proper workout gear and a walking tracking form.
Michele Guerra, the director of the Wellness Center, said she decided to update the website in time for spring. Many of the walks did not provide any shade, which, with warmer temperatures, could create a safety issue for longer walks. The new walks feature a combination of shade and sun.
Although part of the "iWalk Toolkit," the same paths and tips could be applied to running on campus. "Jogging is great," Guerra said, "but sometimes taking a walk is more realistic. Walking is most popular for good reason - it's easy, accessible and cheap."
What's more, Guerra said, on campus, walking is often also faster and cheaper than driving.
"We know people are busy," she said. "We promote walking as something that might fit in when it's not realistic to do something else."
Guerra said the center also plans to add a walk called State Streets/Carle Park next month. The center plans to keep updating the website throughout the summer.
Featured walks and maps
Best route to get across campus
• Armory Trail (east-west)
• Lorado Taft Trail (east-west)
• Peabody Drive Trail (east-west)
• Quad Link Trail (north-south)
• Sixth Street Trail (north-south)
Best walks for fitness, enjoyment
• Research Park trail walk
• Arboretum/Japan House walk
• Bardeen Quad walk
• Beckman Quad walk
• Boneyard Greenway/Scott Park/Retention Pond walk
• Illini Grove walk
• Krannert Art Museum/Mount Hope Cemetery loop walk
• Main Quad walk
• South Quad walk
• Urbana State Streets/Carle Park walk (coming soon)