Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome Walking Program (With Video)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is quite the land of its own. With culture, weather, and scenery incomparable to the rest of the Mitten state, the U.P. is a beautiful area with an even better community of residents. No stranger to an extended winter weather season, residents have had to become creative in keeping active and staying healthy in those colder, snow-filled months.

In partnership, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Northern Michigan University, and Marquette General Health Systems have been partners since 2010 in providing access to stay active for local residents. Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome is home to an indoor walking track in the heart of downtown Marquette. The Dome, which is the largest wooden dome in the world, features a soft, level track and indoor turf field.

9427538247_2cb2220169Access to walking in the Dome is free to residents and open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Prior to the program’s creation, access to the Dome was between $30 and $50 per person. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Northern Michigan University, and Marquette General Health Systems split the $20,000 cost, which, in turn, covers the cost of staffing and operating the Dome. By covering the yearly cost of keeping the Dome open, the partners have the hope of curbing residents’ excuses and ultimately make the community a healthier place.

Through the partnership, local residents can utilize the Dome for walking during the winter months. This allows residents to stay active without worrying about slipping from ice and snow, or having to keep warm in the elements. The walking program has addressed a discrepancy in staying active for the local Marquette community. In fact, since the start of the program in 2010, walking in the winter months has increased more than 300%. This is significant since it is estimated that 40% of people become sedentary during the winter months.

The facility has seen residents that come to walk at the Dome every single day. In fact, in a prior interview, Associate Facilities Director, Carl Bammert, explains that “What’s amazing about it is, it is not just the retirees who are walking but also mothers with strollers, NMU students, and a lot of business people come during their lunch hours.”

For more information on holiday hours, winter hours, and events happening in the Dome, visit NMU’s recreation website.

What walking programs do you utilize within your community?

Photo credit: yooperann

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