GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - USM Gulf Park's push to promote a healthier campus took another step forward Tuesday. The school hosted its first "Seaside Shuffle," aimed at helping USM make strides toward fitness and wellness.
They hit the sidewalk shortly after noon, some wore tutus and other fun attire. About 30 USM Gulf Park students, faculty and staff took a brisk walk along the beach front, every step bringing them closer to their personal wellness goals.
"I do use the fitness center three days a week. I go run, and I try to eat healthy as much as I can. Even though I'm a college student, it's very hard," said USM Sophomore Brittany Thomas.
"No, not tired. I can keep walking," another student said.
USM sponsored the one-and-a-half mile walk to support the campus' "Health is Golden" initiative. The campaign was launched in February with a $196,800 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.
"It's really about getting people active and living healthy lifestyles. So every little thing that we can do to get them moving more, to get them thinking about nutrition, get them thinking about their overall way of living, every little thing we can do to add to that is a bonus," said USM Gulf Park Fitness Coordinator Kim Beard.
"It's a great stress reliever. I enjoy walking and it's a good way to break up the day," said Rose Bremenkamp, USM Gulf Park Financial Aid & Veteran Affairs Director.
The grant has also funded campus walks, nutritional lunches and seminars, and new fitness equipment.
"Every single day, I run into somebody who says, "Hey, because of the things that you were doing, I feel better.' People tell us how it's changed their life, whether it be sleeping better or losing weight," said Beard.
They learned how a simple stroll could keep them on the path toward a stronger, healthier body. Earlier this semester, many USM students and staff members participated in a health screening. They will have a post-screening later this week to monitor their progress.