How many calories do you burn around campus?

    Northwestern University might well be on its way to a new national prominence founded upon world-class hot dogs or the most bizarre criminal activity. But one reputation that we can actually be proud of is our very fit campus.

    According to a study published in Men’s Fitness in 2005, Northwestern ranked as the fifth-fittest campus in the nation. The study attributed students’ dewy complexions and bulging biceps to “school offerings,” such as our lakefront location and state-of-the-art athletic facilities.

    But even students who don’t routinely wait in line for the elliptical at Blomquist or pump serious iron up north manage to stay trim. How now, brown cow? Our campus spans nearly 1.5 miles, and most students traverse it old-school-style every day. That is to say, on foot. À pied.

    The pedestrian lifestyle can oft lead to sore feet. It can limit one’s ability to wear interesting but impractical shoes. It can elicit a hearty groan when Caesar reveals a 10-minute window between classes on opposite ends of campus. But really how much walking goes on in an average day? And how many calories are burned in the process? It may be more than you think.

    Using my own two feet, I paced out some commonly traversed routes at a medium pace. I walked with a moderate sense of urgency, but not a rolled-out-of-bed-late-after-the-test-already-started kind of direness (you don’t need me to tell you that you’re burning calories like crazy in that kind of frantic sprint). Then I got on a treadmill with my notebook and calculator — essentially stamping “nerd” on my forehead — and figured out the Inadvertent-Exercise Question once and for all.

    Multimedia by Tom Giratikanon / North by Northwestern.


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