[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER: This is a production of the Cornell University Wellness Program.
CHRISTA ALBRECHT: Welcome to the first podcast of the Cornell University Wellness Program. I'm Christa Albrecht. And I'm here today with Ruth Merle-Doyle, health and wellness specialist, to talk about walking options on and near the Cornell campus.
Personally, this topic is one that I'm interested in because as the newest member of the wellness team, I'm still a little unfamiliar with the area. My first question is if someone is ready to start walking for exercise, what tips might you share with them before they get started?
RUTH MERLE-DOYLE: You know, it seems that when we all think of cardio, we think of 30 minutes as the goal for how much we should do. And really any time spent on cardio is beneficial-- 15 minutes, 25 minutes, 50 minutes. Any time you can give to cardio certainly is beneficial and good for you.
The other thing to remember is with your walking workouts, they don't have to be all or nothing. If your day is really busy, you can split your one longer workout into shorter bouts that that may equal let's say 30 minutes. So it may look like three 10 minute walks, two 15 minute walks, and, of course, I'm using 30 minutes as the total time there. But certainly, it doesn't have to be all or nothing.
CHRISTA ALBRECHT: I like that you're saying that any amount of cardio counts. I often say that exercise adds up like loose change throughout the day. So knowing how busy our fellow employees are, I think shooting for shorter walks may fit into busy days better than one longer walk. Is there anything else we should keep in mind?
RUTH MERLE-DOYLE: Absolutely. So generally, walking is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and something that's pretty accessible from just about anywhere. But before you get started, it's always a good idea to check in with your physician or your health care provider. This is especially important if you're not at all accustomed to walking or any cardio exercise or have had any health complications recently.
Also, when it comes to walking, a good pair of supportive athletic shoes is a must, as well as being sure to dress for the weather.
CHRISTA ALBRECHT: Yes, the Ithaca weather. You just never know what's going to happen out there. So when someone is accustomed to walking on campus and looking for some variety, are there some routes on or nearby the Cornell campus you can tell us about?
RUTH MERLE-DOYLE: There sure are. Cornell's campus and the surrounding area's filled with many diverse options for walking. And each option has its perks that I'd like to highlight today.
For those who are looking for an adventure, you can try what I call the footbridge loop. There are two amazing footbridges on the north side of campus-- one between Balch Hall and Martha Van and the other closer to the Johnson Art Museum. If you start at the Thurston Ave. Bridge-- that's the main bridge connecting North Campus with the rest of campus-- and start walking downhill toward the art museum, you'll see a set of stairs on your right-hand side. And that set of stairs leads to the pedestrian suspension bridge. That bridge spans Fall Creek and it'll give you a great view of the gorge and the hydroelectric plant, which, interestingly, still provides about 2% of the university's power.
So after the bridge, you can turn right and walk uphill on Fall Creek Drive and then right again onto Thurston Ave. And soon enough, you'll start to see North Campus buildings, most specifically, you'll see the Risley Residence Hall on your right-hand side. It's very Harry Potter-esque so you really can't miss it. Right after Risley, you'll see Cradit Farm Road on your left-hand side. And then soon enough, you'll see Beebe Lake again on your right-hand side.
Now, if you go downhill toward the lake, you'll see the Triphammer Footbridge. It spans the start of Fall Creek after Beebe Lake. And from there, you get a really great view of an abandoned hydroelectric plant-- some of which recently fell into the gorge, so there's less of it to see. But nonetheless, it's a beautiful view. All in all, this walk takes about 0.8 miles, so it's just about a mile. And it really is a great spot to show visitors, whether they're prospective students, prospective employees, or your friends and family, it's a nice way to show them around that part of campus.
CHRISTA ALBRECHT: Absolutely. You and I work very near the Triphammer Footbridge on North Campus. And it is a beautiful spot to view the gorge. We also have colleagues that are on the opposite side of campus at East Hill Plaza and EHOB. And I'm wondering if there are any good options over there for them?
RUTH MERLE-DOYLE: Oh, there is a really nice option over there. It's called the East Hill Rec Way. And it's close enough that not only is it an option for those working in the East Hill area, but also people working on campus.
This trail's a 1-mile paved trail. And it's best found by making your way toward the Graphic Arts Service Building-- that's at the intersection of Route 366 and Pine Tree Road. There's a mulched trail that leads you uphill to the start of that Rec Way. And at the top, you'll find the trail on your left-hand side. It runs along Cascadilla Creek, and it runs all the way to Game Farm Road.
Now, the surface is paved, but the shoulder is soft. And it's nice and wide. So if you're looking for softer ground, you still have that option with this trail. It's the place I gravitate toward in the summer because it's shady and cool. You can hear the creek babbling and the birds chirping. It's a really nice get away from campus. The trail's also very close to the Dilmun Organic Student Farm-- someplace I've always wanted to check out. And certainly, if you're there, you, too, can check that out.
Now, the one thing to keep in mind about this trail is that it's slightly uphill going toward Game Farm Road. You won't see it. But you'll feel it.
CHRISTA ALBRECHT: I love the Rec Way. It was one of the first trails that you showed me when I first came here to Cornell. And it's fabulous. And I'm almost scared to ask this question, but for those people who are crazy enough-- I'm sorry, motivated enough to want more intensity in their workout, something a little more strenuous, what options might someone have on campus to get a more intense walk?
RUTH MERLE-DOYLE: Well, the one easy variable to add intensity to your walking, or your running route, for that matter, is to add hills. And in Ithaca and on campus, it's really easy to do. One route that I like is really simply to walk up and down Buffalo Street. So if you start at the top of Buffalo Street at Eddy Street-- that's in Collegetown-- and walk down to Aurora Street, which is really kind of the start of the Commons and the downtown area, just that one way is about 0.4 miles. So you can imagine your round trip is almost a mile.
So for this particular walk, you might not worry too much about the mileage, but rather use that time goal. Whatever feels right for you, let's say it's 30 minutes, and see how many times up and down you can go. And really downtown and the Commons are quite closer than we all think they are. So if you need to combine this route with errands you might need to do-- it's a great way to add exercise to your day, while you're still getting those things done that are important to you.
The other option, too, is that if you're a little strapped for time, you can always walk down and take the number 10 bus back up.
CHRISTA ALBRECHT: All right. So I like that you mentioned hills. And even if that particular route is not your cup of tea, there are many other hill options, like The Slope, the hill going to Helen Newman, and many others. But what other paths or trails do you find interesting?
RUTH MERLE-DOYLE: Well, the first set of trails that I find interesting are really anything in the Cornell Plantations. The Cornell Plantations has acres and acres of gardens, natural areas, and trails for anyone to explore.
The one trail that's fairly popular but still unknown to some is the Beebe Lake Trail. So this trail runs along Beebe Lake. It's not paved, so it's a nice soft surface if, again, that's what you're looking for. I can personally tell you that when you're walking on the trail, even though you still see campus buildings, you're going to feel like you're worlds away.
In the spring, there's a daffodil spread on one side of the lake. There's always a whole bunch of Canada geese and goslings. On the south side of the trail, you can find yet another Cornell Plantations trail that will lead you to the rhododendron garden on your left-hand side. When those are blooming in May, it's quite a sight to see. And in summer, if you visit the herb garden with, again, anyone visiting campus, it really is outstanding. If you have a moment, you'll want to look at the plantations website to see what trails might be perfect for you.
Another trail that I enjoy is a short mulch trail that actually runs behind the Engineering Quad. It's a little bit unknown. So if you start at Snee Hall, you can walk across the Trolley Footbridge. And just after the Trolley Footbridge on the left-hand side, you'll see a mulched trail. Takes only about five minutes to walk down that trail to yet another footbridge, called the Eddy Dam Footbridge, where you can end up behind Rhodes Hall.
Now, your option to make the loop is either to go behind the Engineering Quad or even to go up to Hoy Road and take the sidewalk back to campus. This walk is really nice if you need something easy to get to, flat, and pretty short. And just like the East Hill Rec Way in the summer, it's nice. It's cool and shady. It runs along the creek, so you hear a babbling brook. And also, if you're coming from the west side of campus, and are going to Collegetown, it's a great shortcut if you need to grab coffee or grab lunch.
The other option people often use to walk is the A Lot route. So many of us park on A Lot on North Campus, and with a little time preparation, you can use that commute from your car to your building to get a little bit of walking time in. It's almost one whole mile from A Lot to Day Hall. So this would be an easy way to get a little cardiovascular time in before your workday even starts.
The other thing I'd like to mention is that on the wellness web site, you can find a walking map that shows one-mile routes all around campus. Our website is wellness.cornell.edu, that's wellness.cornell.edu.
CHRISTA ALBRECHT: Thank you, Ruth. I really appreciate that you've given me some more options for my walks. Until today, all my walks seemed to lead me to the Dairy Bar.
For those listening, feel free to contact Ruth with any questions about walking or the wellness program. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Exercise physiologists Christa Albrecht and Ruth Merle-Doyle, of the Cornell University Wellness Program, share tips and ideas on walking around different areas of the Ithaca campus.
The Wellness Program provides faculty, staff, and retirees with diverse opportunities that foster joy, balance, and well-being. This is the first in a series of upcoming Wellness Program podcasts that focus on fitness, nutrition, and health for the Cornell community.