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National holiday encourages cardiovascular health

Editor's Note: The paragraph about the stickers and armbands participants wore during the event has been edited for clarity. The Daily Lobo apologizes for any confusion.

The American Heart Association declared the first Wednesday of April National Walking Day. In recognition of this, the University of New Mexico encouraged its employees to participate by hosting Walk Out on Work Day.

The goal of Walk Out on Work Day is for employees to spend their lunch time or breaks outside exercising.

“In today’s busy world, making fitness a priority is always a challenge,” said Tracey Briggs, supervisor of UNM Employee Wellness. “This event proves that it can be attained during the workday by simply going for a walk.”

The Employee Wellness department started Walk Out on Work Day three years ago, in the hopes of promoting cardiovascular health and the American Heart Association.

“We thought that by calling it “Walk Out on Work” that the catchy title might draw everyone’s attention — and it did,” Briggs said.

There were around 20 organized walks throughout the day on the UNM Main, North and Gallup Campuses. President Garnett S. Stokes led one of these walks, starting at Scholes Hall and looping around Main Campus.

“I truly do believe in getting out and walking,” Stokes said. “So to be able to lead a group seemed like it would give me an opportunity to share something that I love doing. It’s also nice to take time from my long to-do list to just be outside and walk.”

UNM Chancellor of Health Sciences Dr. Paul Roth and UNM Gallup CEO Dr. James Malm led similar walks on Wednesday.

Many UNM employees joined in the walks throughout the day, sporting stickers that read “I walked out on work” and armbands reading “Look for me."

“We just kind of sit at our desks all day, so it’s nice to have some incentive to get outside,” UNM employee Nancy Middlebrook said while participating in one of the walks.

Dorene DiNaro works in marketing and public affairs at UNM. She said her co-worker encouraged her to come on the walk.

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“I walk a lot anyways, so this seemed like a great thing to do,” DiNaro said.

Due to the initial success of Walk Out on Work Wednesday in 2015, Employee Wellness decided to keep bringing it back. Briggs said, it has become a tradition with the faculty, and many employees look forward to walking together and enjoying the warm weather.

Catherine Stringam is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @cathey_stringam.

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