By Gabrielle Smith
Arts & Entertainment Editor
My journeys around Kutztown started when I purchased my first Fitbit a few weeks ago. For anyone who doesn’t know what I’m referring to, it’s the Bluetooth watch that tracks your step counts, calories burned, heart rates and sleeping patterns, then synchronizes the results to your smartphone, so that you can see how healthy your body truly is in terms of multiple different facets.
It has features that help to try to motivate you to add more physical activity into your life. The main goal is to see how many steps you can take in a day and exceed that. It also encourages users to challenge friends who also have Fitbits, and see who can take the most steps. There are solo challenges of virtual walks and runs on routes of famous landmarks to complete in a short amount of time.
Wanting to take advantage of these motivational challenges to better my own health, I went out for a long walk through Kutztown. Since the town is around 1.6 square miles, I could walk as far and as much as I wanted and still get back to my house from anywhere in less than half an hour.
This walk included many inclines from the main streets and the back roads, which increases your heart rate and burns more calories. Doing so amongst the wonderful scenery, which most of us likely mindlessly pass every day while we’re focused on getting somewhere and getting things done, was a calming experience.
Finals are fast approaching and stress is following closely behind. Exercise has always been key to stress relief, why not take advantage of what our town has to offer? Put some headphones in and start at the top of Main Street. Enjoy the smell of passing coffee shops like Uptown Espresso and Bagel Bar or the infamous ice cream aroma that expels from Pop’s Malt Shoppe.
Observe the townies and students taking their dogs for a walk. Fair warning: if you’re allergic, don’t get too close, but still admire their happy playful selves. It might make you a bit happy too. You might even run into some friends running errands at Turkey Hill or Mr. Food’s. Take a moment to look up at the buildings and homes with vintage styles. Just admire them for their uniqueness.
Check out the HIVE located just off of Main Street on Sacony Alley for some good organic meals—nobody has to spoil their exercise just because of hunger. Take the time to check out Second Nature Health Food Store located on Main Street itself, where you can purchase supplements, organic foods and products, so the healthy habits can continue at home.
Once you reach Constitutional Blvd. at the end of Main Street, continue by making a right. Turn right again at the stop sign by Kutztown Elementary and during this stretch, enjoy the houses of local residents. More dogs might be playing in the front yards, the flowers blooming on the lawns, and you’ll pass by the late Victorian marvel style schoolhouse museum that has been there since 1892. It’s interesting to look at something that was built over 100 years ago still standing before you.
You don’t have to stop once you reach the top of Main Street, go enjoy the beauty of our campus in a more focused mental state, rather than always rushing to your next class or appointment.
Driving everywhere takes away the experience of really enjoying the area of where we live. If the gym feels like a boring routine, despite all that it has to offer, step out for some fresh air, bring friends, and create new routes each time. The college years will eventually come to an end, so try to take advantage of them while you can.