Stay fit and social with Penn’s Walking Program

Penn Walking Program

Penn Walking Program2

Exercising is always more fun with a buddy who can provide encouragement and support. The Penn Walking Program pushes staff and faculty to get active by giving walkers motivational tools, offering walking companions and supplying some free goodies to get you started.

The program offers structured 12-week sessions, but participants can begin whenever they choose and continue for any length of time. Most participants walk alone, but two group walks are also held on campus every Friday. One session runs from 11 a.m. to noon and a second is held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Walkers meet on the southwest corner of 34th and Walnut streets and often head to the historic Woodlands Cemetery and back for a three-mile tour. Other times, the group walks to the Biopond or on the Schuylkill River Trail.

In addition to improving cardiovascular care, walking is a great way to meet other members of the Penn community, and also to see some more of the campus and the surrounding community.

“A lot of people never knew the Woodlands Cemetery was there,” says Suzanne Smith, administrator of the Penn Walking Program. “It’s a place where you can get away from the city—you feel like you’re in another world.”

Smith says the social aspect of the group walks can be stimulating and therapeutic.

“Walking with others can be a great motivator,” she says. “Sometimes you may not feel like getting out there, but knowing that others are depending on you can be an incentive.”

Despite its name, the Penn Walking Program isn’t strictly a walking program. Smith says its overall goal is to get people motivated to exercise.

“We want people to be aware of moving more,” she says. “Maybe they’ll also think about taking the stairs or biking. It’s about being more active.”

Joining the Penn Walking Program has its perks: a free pedometer to keep track of the number of steps and miles that you walk, an “I’m a Penn walker” T-shirt and access to the Penn Walking Program tracking website, which allows you to keep track of your progress online.

You can join the program by calling Suzanne Smith at 215-898-5116 or emailing

Originally published on May 26, 2011