Promoting America Walks

Meet Steve Hooker!

Steven HookerWhat’s your day job and how do you think your professional experience fits in with the mission of America Walks?

I am associate dean of research and professor in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University. I have experience with studies pertaining to promoting healthy lifestyle behavior change including physical activity. I have also participated in studies assessing the impact of the built environment on physical activity behavior. The most common behavior previously inactive people choose to take up is walking. However, if their neighborhood or community is not walkable, that becomes a significant barrier to becoming more active. Thus, the mission of American Walks to make America a great place to walk is complementary to my research.

In a few sentences, describe why walking matters to you.

Walking is a wonderful way to really experience your environment. A person doesn’t really get to feel the essence of an area unless they can spend time walking in that environment. I want my grandkids to be able to safely walk as much as possible so they can truly notice and appreciate everything around them.

Name one thing anyone can do to make their community more walkable.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but all of us can be more conscientious drivers of motor vehicles. When driving, we should obey all traffic laws and speed limits. We should always be on the lookout for pedestrians. We should yield to pedestrians as much as possible and give them equal and safe access to public spaces.

What’s your favorite place to walk?

I love to walk when I travel to new places. I have had the best experiences while walking in cities such as Amsterdam, Sydney, Zurich, London, Edinburgh, New York, Washington DC, and San Diego. You receive great exposure to the culture, architecture and history when walking in these and other places.

If you could go for a walk with any living person, who would it be?

My wife, Cindy. She’s been my my best friend for nearly 40 years, but due to several fall-related injuries and lingering ailments, she hasn’t been able to freely walk with confidence or without significant assistance for about three years. I look forward to the day when she is fully recovered and we can talk a long leisure walk in her favorite place, the beach.