Walking Challenge 2006
Two volunteers will embark on a Walking Challenge for the week from 15 – 19th of May.
Lynn Campbell (Accountancy and Finance) and Prof. Barry Jones (Psychology) will leave their car at home for one week. Walking to work from Scotstoun and Broomhill respectively, they will record their experiences daily in an online-diary.
To find out how they get on, how they brave the weather and feel their fitness improving, please see their on-line diary below during their walking week. The experiences made by the participants shall encourage more staff members and students to come in for work on foot more often.
The Walking Challenge was organised by the Travel and Transport Co-ordinator, as part of the University’s Travel Planning process. For more information on the walking challenge, the Travel Planning process at the University and general advise on walking to work and walking initiatives, please contact the Travel and Transport Co-ordinator.
The Walking Challenge is sponsored by Woodland Herbs, the complementary medicine centre in Woodlands Road, with vouchers for massages for the two volunteers.
A short introduction by the volunteers
Lynn: I've decided to take on the Walk to Work challenge as it sounds fun and it will help to motivate me. I used to do high impact exercise regularly but due to a knee injury my only form of exercise now is walking or swimming. It's certainly going to be a challenge for me to walk in from Scotstoun and I’ve got my fingers crossed the weather will be nice that week!
Barry: I am 60, a lapsed (marathon) jogger and a couple of stones overweight. I take medication for cardiovascular problems and diabetes. Walking a mile and a half to work might be a good route back to regular exercise and when this week is over I’m wondering if I might continue walking in. In a year it would be equivalent to walking to London and back. I’m not sure how I’ll deal with wet weather if it comes, though, and the fact that one route home takes me past my favourite pub, the Three Judges, and also that I’m eligible for a free bus pass, anyway!
Monday morning, and its raining. Not a good start ! How did the volunteers cope ?
After the weather of last week, this morning is lousy: rain, cold and humidity. How can that be? Not looking forward to it. Call in to my mother’s to return her handbag she left while eating with us last night. Fortunately the bag matches my SPSS umbrella (free gift with version 6). Crow road is windy and the umbrella not much use but Dumbarton Road is much better and the umbrella seems to keep the rain off. All the corner shops are open, many selling breakfast sandwiches (might try one this week). Lots of people dashing for the underground. Not much road traffic. No taxis. Huh. Turn into Byres Road at Partick Cross. Windy again and jeans are getting damp. My specs steam up. Three Judges is shut but all coffee houses are open. And full. It’s cold, fizzy water I need, though. A bit hot and sweaty even after only a mile and a half. But not tired. Turn into University Avenue and meet Lynn at the main gate who’s walk in was much longer than mine. But I’m (lots) older so that’s fair. Not looking forward to walking home unless it dries up. A bad start to the week.
I must admit when my alarm went off this morning 45 minutes earlier than usual and I looked out the curtains to see what a miserable day it was, it wasn’t a very encouraging start to my week of walking to work. My walk took me just under an hour, walking all the way along Dumbarton Road and listening to my music to keep me entertained … trying hard to avoid going into the many bakeries I passed on my way!
When I met up with the Challenge Co-ordinator, Viola, at the Maingate at 8.45am I was dripping wet and asked to smile for the camera … what a greeting that was. Never mind, I got changed into dry clothes when I got to my office and my lovely colleague had a hot cup of tea waiting on my desk for me … think she was trying to make up for driving past me on Dumbarton Road and offering me a lift when she knew I couldn’t accept.
I’m hoping the weather will improve in time to walk home.
Feature of the day - Walking as exercise
The active living message recommends that adults should accumulate 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all of the days of the week.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to gain health benefits and short bouts can be fitted in to most people’s lives. It is the one type of physical activity that most people can do without skills, equipment, facilities and extra expense. Walking is therefore one of the best ways to improve the health and fitness of the nation.
Numerous studies have shown that regular walking at a moderate to brisk pace can improve aerobic fitness for a wide section of the population. It has been proven that there has been an improvement in cardio-respiratory health, therefore reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by the reduction of blood pressure. Walking also aids in the process of weight management due to the calorie expenditure it can provide. We also know that walking has become effective in stress management, due to the result of hormonal changes within the brain and also distraction from stressful stimuli.
Recommended technique: Keep the body upright and straight, ensuring that the heel hits the ground first, with the arms comfortably bent at the sides. As the pace picks up, so too, pick the arms up a little more forward and back, leaning slightly forward from the feet, not the waist.
(text kindly provided by Alan Francis, SRS)
My walk home from work last night was pretty miserable. Just marched along thinking of what I was going to have for dinner and how much I deserved it. I was soaked through to the skin when I got home at 6pm and exhausted after walking my approximately 7 mile round trip and going to the gym at lunchtime - I know, I must be mad!!
On a positive note, my car had a wee day off so obviously saved on petrol and think of all the calories I burned off … going to treat myself with a bar of chocolate or a cream cake today!
Felt a bit more motivated this morning and it was dry which helped a lot! I walked a different route which was more interesting - past Scotstoun Leisure Centre, up to Crow Road, up Clarence Drive then down Highburgh Road to University Ave. Again took me about 55 minutes.
Roll on Friday!!
The day-1 return walk is in rain much heavier than this morning, wonderful! Not windy, though. So SPSS umbrella is pretty effective. Shoes seem to be water-tight, too. So no need to wear hiking boots tomorrow. Still quite warm. Traffic on Highburgh Road is heavy (6:15 pm) with a 40-car tail back from the Clarence Drive lights towards Byres Road. I wonder why they don’t use two lanes? Especially the cars turning left into Clarence Drive? This morning’s walk was terrible. This one’s much better. Maybe because I’m not thinking about it much? Had two emails during the day. One suggesting I should try walking meditation (and sent me URLs) and the other suggesting a better route than this morning’s (and sent me directions). I’ll use both sources of advice, I think. Notice that Jelly Hill’s awning keeps the outside seats dry in the rain and that Peckham’s stock is nothing like it was once. Passing cyclist splashes me. Oh for cyclist number plates. Just a touch of shin splints as I get home. Wus. Still raining hard. It'll be sunny tomorrow.
Day 2 walk in. No rain. SPSS brolly remains furled. No wind. Nothing. Leaves of the road's limes absolutely still. Quite cold and no humidity. Surprised to find legs a bit heavy. Hands get cold quite quickly. Good. Decide to walk in up the Clarence Drive hill. Steep. I once did interval training up this hill with 10 repetitions. Now the school kids I normally pass in the car pass me at pace. Bummer. Near the top I pass an old(er) man. Yes! The red man on the traffic lights at the top of Clarence Drive tells me to stop. This is a good thing. I'm getting quite hot, after only 10 minutes. I take the back roads to Byres Road and see my first iPod accident. The iPodder is using Etymotic's fantastic in-ear 3-flange speakers (capable of excluding jet noise). We talk about them, he's staggered to know I use them, too. The lady car driver is less impressed and uses less than lady-like language. I've cooled down now but it all goes wrong ascending Great George Street. Hot and sweaty again. Legs feel pretty bad too. The nail is in the coffin by the time I've done the 80 steps of ascent to my office in Hillhead Street. My room is piping hot and airless and I feel quite uncomfortable. Thank heavens I'm chemically protected against death. Need to think seriously about organising showers if I continue in this vein (walking in). And if the weather gets warmer. Or perhaps an increase in fitness might offset the discomfort. Oh well, at least the SPSS brolly wasn't needed.
Comment by Viola: Barry, your nearest shower would be in Florentine House – recently or nearly completed !
Feature of the day: Walking – when and where ?
If your circumstances do not allow that you walk in to work, you could try a lunchbreak walk. Both, Gilmorehill and Garscube campus are situated near or within parkland. That should make it easy and enjoyable !
- here a list of campus walks as have been formerly described in the University Newsletter by the Biodiversity Working Group
- The University’s Sport and Recreation Service offers Walking Classes every Monday and Wednesday, 12.15 – 12.45
- For those who are a bit more flexible with their working time, Glasgow City Council has organised guided walks in several Glasgow Parks within the ‘Glasgow City Health Walks’ project. They start Monday to Sunday at 10.30 am, Monday to Thursday at 6.30 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 3.30 pm. The meeting point for Kelvingrove Park is the entrance on Kelvinway, adjacent to the public toilets. These walks are between 0.5 and 2 miles in distance and are suitable for all.
If you want to start up regular walking, contact the Travel and Transport Co-ordinator for a ‘Walk in to work out – walk or cycle to work’ pack. The pack includes an introduction, a progress chart, distances from local stations to Gilmorehill campus, hints and tips, information where you can get further support, a campus map and the Glasgow map ‘Fit for life’.
Also helpful may be the ’10 000 steps a day’ Quick Start Guide with a 6 week log by WHI (Walking the Way to Health).
For those who can’t get enough of walking and look for exiting walks on a day out, there is Walk-wise, Scotland’s walking magazine and Walking Routes, with hundreds of possibilities.
I cheated a bit last night but have a good excuse … I was at a Squash course from 5-7pm, had all good intensions for walking home after but, as you can imagine, I was exhausted! My friend’s car was parked at Hyndland, so we walked there which took about 15 minutes. We were tired and hungry and it was pouring with rain so even that short distance wasn’t very enjoyable.
Well, well, what can I say ….even with my will-power it was hard to resist a lift part of the way this morning. My friend, who also works at Glasgow University, stayed at mine last night and was driving in. I was trying to persuade her to walk in with me but she just laughed! I compromised and took a lift to the far side of Whiteinch and walked from there. It took me about 30 minutes which would be much more manageable on a day-to-day basis. It was a nice walk along Dumbarton Road to the lower University gate and then up through Professor Square etc. I felt much less hot and bothered when I arrived at work.
Day 2 return walk. No rain. Light wind. Cool. Much better than walking home last night. No need to carry a briefcase either because I can download tonight's work. Walk with final year student for a bit but getting out of breath so ask her to slow down. She wonders when the pay dispute will be over. So do I. It's a mess on both sides I tell her but there’s a government select committee meeting both sides tomorrow to try and find out what the obstacles to settlement are. She shrugs and goes. Traffic's really noisy now and irritating. Breeze gets up and it’s cooling and the sun’s coming out. Call into Three Judges for a pint and meet a PG working with me. She’s been to the dentist.
Walk along Dumbarton Road is surprisingly quiet now and traffic free. Then the heavens open. It’s that West of Scotland Calvinist god overlooking the 3Js again. I call into my mother’s on Crow Road by which time I am wet T-shirt competition soaking. Left my SPSS brolly in the department you see. I get home and change. Wish I’d never started all this. Weather forecast for tomorrow looks good, though, so might not chuck the towel in just yet.
Day 3 walk in. Legs a bit sore. Especially shins. No sign of rain. But I said exactly that yesterday and got totally swamped. After yesterday’s debacle decide not to do the Clarence Drive and Great George Street double ascent so only do Clarence Drive. The traffic noise is intrusive. Worse on Highburgh Road. Walking more slowly today and getting less hot and sticky. Also learned to carry my jacket to keep cool. It's taken three days to work that one out. Bill Stewart passes me on his bike. But going home! Do University Avenue instead of Great George Street. Still the same ascent to Psychology but the later one is by degrees (pun in there somewhere trying to get out). VP Muscatelli tries to reduce the wage bill by nearly mowing me down at the Main Gate. But even in my anoxic state, I dodge. The cobbled road up the side of the University Library seems to have got much steeper since earlier this week but I manage. Weather forecast for the evening is poor but who cares. I'll be in the Stade de France, Paris, watching the big game. Well, Tennents pub, maybe.
Comment by Viola: Hospitality Services has just offered the two 'walk to work' volunteers a free breakfast on Friday morning in the University Dining Rooms to round off their week. Thank you !
Feature of the day: Too long a distance … what else is there ?
One of the reasons why Lynn and Barry took part in the walking challenge was because they want to improve their fitness. Monday’s tip of the day described how walking works on your body. It also helps you to save money when you walk instead of drive, in addition to your contribution for better air quality and less carbon emissions. Lynn decided to accept lifts yesterday and this morning, this still means that she didn’t use her own car.
Lynn’s way to work is also quite long for every day with walking nearly for one hour, each way. Walking to work is recommended for distances up to 3 miles. Everything between 1 and 6 miles could be traveled by bicycle. Effective is also a combination of walking and taking public transport, for example 15 min walk to the nearest Underground and train station, or get off the bus early enough to build in a short walk to work. Public transport also gives you the chance to read your morning newspaper and you don’t have to bother to find a space for parking. Try it out !
For route, timetable and ticket information go to:
To find out more about cycling:
Contact us the Travel and Transport Co-ordinator for route leaflets, the ‘Getting Started – A Guide to Commuting By Bicycle’ and the ‘Walk in to work out – walk or cycle to work’ pack.
Also have a look at the Travel Planning (Cycling) webpages, with many links, including the Bicycle User Group at University of Glasgow.
Day 3 return walk. Legs quite heavy all day. Training effect, maybe? Huh. Leaving work later than usual. Serious rain. SPSS umbrella. Calling into Tennents Bar to watch Arsenal-Barcelona game. Too crowded so go to Three Judges to watch. Wonder if red and white SPSS brolly stripes constitute "football colours" banned from most bars. SPSS brolly passes test. We four psychologists cheer on Arsenal (Frenchman, Scotswoman, German and Englishman: United Nations). Solid rain outside. TV picture terrible so move to bar next door (in pouring rain). Quite unsettling, though. One screen is curiously 4.5 seconds in front of the remaining 10 screens. Trust me, I’m a scientist. Our German colleague staggers 50 people in the bar (who have not noticed this fact) by forecasting Barcelona’s two goals and several bookings. He’s held in awe. We restrain him from trying to then sell lottery numbers, Tony Blair’s resignation date and the winner of the World Cup in June. Catalonians in bar cheer their victory. Bar closes. Still raining. German (waterproof cycling gear), Frenchman (artic exposure suit) and Scotswoman (several body warmers) attack the Byres Road rain. Englishman with trusty SPSS umbrella does Dumbarton Road. Tortured by empty taxis and buses. But legs not so sore as earlier in the day. Have I turned the corner half way through this week of raining hell, I wonder? Whatever, decide to buy barbie doll tomorrow in the style of Viola Retzlaff and a box of very sharp pins. Get home as the rain stops. Legs feel fine …
Next morning: Road to the Hyndland traffic lights (8:45). I normally drive in at 8 and the tailback is less than a half dozen. Byres Road very windy. Keeps me cool. Might have cracked it. Only go out on windy days. Test the SPSS umbrella in the wind on Byres Road. Can't hold it. I now have one arm 3" longer than the other. Two policemen and several drivers are amused at my antics. Police follow me into Tinderbox grinning. The female police person (policewoman) asks whether I used to be Barry Jones who lectured first year psychology years ago. Small world. I explain the SPSS umbrella antics; they smile slowly and leave me to my espresso and bagel. Ponder the neuroimaging project we hatched in the pub last night at half time and decide it's a goer. Also ponder the current pay dispute ... Final stretch up University Avenue and Hillhead Street. Does the Principal walk to work? Also wondering how Lynn is managing. She's walking twice my distance. So, all in all, the first 'successful' walk of the week. Down to the wind, I think. But I might also be getting broken in, perhaps. I wish.
Walking home from work last night started quite interesting (after I managed to run away from my colleagues who were encouraging me to take a lift). On University Avenue I approached a student who was dressed up as a giant bird who gave me a can of Irn Bru 32 - she must of thought I needed more energy! By the time I reached Byres Road I had met three different people who I knew from various places in the Univeristy and they knew I was doing the walk to work. This was quite encouraging although I only walked each of them a couple of minutes to the nearest bus stop and then I began to think ‘what am I doing?’. The rest of the walk was fine, it did start to spit with rain but it wasn’t heavy. Was hungry and quite tired when I got home, which is not surprising as I had played an hour of badminton at lunchtime as well! I did feel quite motivated though and while my dinner was in the oven I managed to strip my hall wallpaper!
This mornings walk was exhausting. I wore my MBT trainers (trainers that supposedly help you burn off calories, improve posture, help with toning and reduce cellulite - the only pounds I lost is the £130 they cost me!). However, I did find the walk much more demanding so they must do something ... either that or I have been overdoing it this week and not got much energy left. Took same route as Tuesday via Crow Road etc, I have decided I much prefer this route as it is much greener and some nice shop windows to look at as I walk past. The weather was much better this morning, dry and I could feel the sun on my face which was nice. Had a feeling of summer - probably the hay-fever! It was a bit boring this morning though as I left my charger at work and my MP3 player died on me after the first 10 minutes of my walk. By the time I got to the top of Clarence Drive I was too hot but it was too much of an effort to try and wrestle out of my jacket with my rucksack on. Stopped another 10 minutes down the road as couldn’t stand it anymore. The walk took me a full hour today and I was exhausted and felt very hot and sticky when I got into work.
Only one more day to go!
Feature of the day: Walking and rain
This morning was not too bad, but other days of the week have been turning out not too walking-friendly weatherwise and the volunteers got soaked by rain.
Walking normally does not require any special outfit as long as you wear ‘sensible’ shoes. However, some precaution can easily been taken to avoid sitting at work in wet clothes or shoes. This is not only not enjoyable, but can also cause you to get a cold in June !
- Prevent from rain: have a folding umbrella with you or a lightweight waterproof. Keep also one each at your place of work. Folding umbrellas unfortunately break easily in the wind, so buy more than one in a pound or charity shop. Lightweight waterproofs are available in every camping shop and roll together to a small size.
- Check the weather forecast, if you don’t want to carry these around for nothing, for example here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/5day.shtml?world=0006
- If you walk regularly you may consider investing into a pair of (waterproof) walking boots and a bit better waterproofs. Consider waterproof trousers. All waterproofs should be highly visible and breathable.
- If you can, keep a towel in your drawer at work.
- Other handy items to be kept in the drawer are a pair of socks/tights, a pair of spare shoes and a comforting sachet of instant hot chocolate !
- Use the University’s umbrella pool – borrow an umbrella from the Main Gate House and return after use.
Last night it was impossible for me to walk home from work as I have an additional job on a Thursday night in the Stevenson Building Gym and don’t finish until 11pm. I did consider walking home at 11pm, but from a safety point of view more than anything, I decided to cheat and go home to get my car. I got a lift home from my friend at 5pm, had a quick dinner and then drove back to my second job for 6.30. I did feel it was good to take my car out a drive to make sure my battery hadn’t gone flat, as the car hadn’t moved since Sunday! Was luxury driving in and I really appreciate it now.
Last but not least … thank goodness … today’s walk was fine. Again, the weather was not the best. Met up with Viola and Barry at the College Club where we were treated to a gorgeous breakfast. It was the perfect way to end my ‘Walk to Work Challenge’. Thank you, Hospitality Services! Going to have an easier walk home tonight … straight to the pub as meeting friends for drinks! I think I deserve one!
Overall, I have enjoyed the challenge. I have calculated that over the 5 days I have walked for 8 hours and covered at least 25 miles. I do feel good for having such an energetic week … it means I can over-indulge at the weekend without feeling guilty. I think I am definitely a fair-weather walker though. I will still continue to walk in now and again, as I always have, but it is an inconvenience for me not to have my car as I am always on the go and my car allows me to go places straight from work i.e. to the supermarket, Braehead, down to Largs to visit family and friends etc. I will try and plan my week better from now on and walk in if the weather is nice and I don’t need the car after work. I am definitely going to dust the cobwebs off my bike though, and start cycling.
Thanks again to Viola for all your encouragement and of course to Hospitality Services. Looking forward to my treatment at Woodland Herbs!
Day 4 walk home. Well, there’s been pouring rain. There’s been high, blustery wind. Tonight it’s pouring rain with high blustery wind. Down Great George Street – so much better than up. Across Byres Road and then the back roads to Hyndland. Changes in wind direction magnified by each corner and the trusty SPSS umbrella. Just like sailing on Loch Lomond. Brolly seems to cope well with it all and I stay dry except for shoes. After 10 minutes the rain stops but the wind is still up. Quite chilly really. Just right. Makes walking so much more comfortable than when I’m overheating. Bump into old friend who’s moved back to Glasgow from the south (quality of life reasons). Chat and get breath back. Call in to Peckhams for cider (cooking purposes). Down Clarence Drive – so much better than up. Home. Legs absolutely fine! Right arm is sore, though, from holding the SPSS brolly in the rain yesterday and today. Pathetic, eh? Tomorrow’s the last day of all of this. It’ll probably snow.
Last day today. Overall the exercise has been positive. I will not continue it 5 days per week but probably 2-3. Probably the windy, dry days not the windy wet ones.
What do I now know?
First, I was unable to walk the 30 minutes to work or back home without discomfort. Today, it was reasonably comfortable and that’s after eight such sessions. I’m embarrassed at my starting state but enormously encouraged by how quickly it has changed. Second, although common sense told me the exercise would do me good, I would have thrown the towel in after Day 2 had I not made a few promises to other people because the first couple of days were so bad. So I’m not motivated by common good sense, but by what others think of me . .. I guess? Third, car clothes are no good for walking clothes and the choice of clothes needs to better fit the type of weather. I was learning by Day 5. Fourth, BBC weather forecasts for Glasgow seem to get closer to what happens than other forecasts. Something that has implications for point three. Fifth, the prospect of showering easily on arrival at work would have been encouraging at the beginning of the week but seemed to be less important by the end of the week. Sixth, if I were to decide to run in to work, showering would be essential and if the shower was not in the same building it would probably be enough to deter me. And oh by the way my deodorant “doesn’t [always] do what it says on the tin.” Seventh, I do not use buses even though I have a free bus pass; but am staggered by the number of buses passing me on Dumbarton Road, Clarence Drive and Highburgh Road. I am equally staggered by the fact that I now know the numbers that designate them. So there seems to be a good bus service from home to work that I could use (for free). Eighth, SPSS make bloody good umbrellas. Ninth, many people I have met during the week walk several miles to work, anyway - making my one point five miles look pretty shabby. Tenth, Lynn is a good sport.
Does anybody want to buy a BMW 320i ... cheap?
Well done the two volunteers. Here they enjoy their breakfast – courtesy of Hospitality Services !
It looks as if after their challenge week they will walk to work on the good days and when it suits, and also try the bike and bus. Can you do the same ?