Exercise is Medicine on campus (EMOC) is a global health initiative that promotes exercise as a way to decrease chronic disease. Exercise is Medicine is designed to increase physical activity and use exercise as the best ‘medicine.’ Every year in October, Penn State’s Kinesiology department organizes a week-long series of events to spread the word about how exercise can improve the well-being of Penn State students and employees. Based on the Penn State Health Assessment, 56% of students are meeting the national guidelines for aerobic exercise (1). However, 50% of students report spending 4 or more hours per day on their computer, mobile device or watching TV (not including time for work or schoolwork).
There’s still work to be done, which is why this is a great campaign to get people moving! Health is wealth. Keep moving Penn State.
1. Penn State Student Health Assessment 2016 http://sites.psu.edu/healthypennstate/wp-content/uploads/sites/4423/2016/07/Accessible-version-PSU-Annual-Report-2016.pdf
If you feel like a walk in a park is all you need to feel physically and mentally better, then you might be right! In a study conducted by Andrew Mowen and other Penn State researchers, it was shown that the vast majority of Pennsylvanians view parks as a valuable place to promote overall health and wellness, and as a critical part of primary health care. These results were based on two surveys; one was sent out via mail to a random sample of 12,000 adults and the other was conducted with outpatients at a medical clinic run by Penn State College of Medicine.
Christopher Sciamanna, one of the co-investigators, thinks the reward structure for primary health care will change in the future. Sciamanna believes that doctors will be paid more for their prevention efforts and keeping patients healthy. Given this redefinition of health care, we may see an increase in the preservation and use of parks, trails and open spaces! (1)
When the sun is shining and you have a few free hours, check out these fun activities to get you moving:
- Go for a walk- this is one of the simplest ways to be active and offers numerous health benefits. Maybe a nature walk is for you or maybe local streets are your thing. Here’s a campus map if you’re at Upark! https://sites.psu.edu/healthypennstate/files/2016/09/Campus-Run_Walk-Map-accessible-version-2gmv9mi.pdf
- Kick your hiking up a notch and try out rock scrambling. This fun blend of hiking and rock climbing is a great total body workout that improves cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility.
- Grab a friend and a Frisbee and head outside for a light and fun workout. Disk golf may be your next favorite activity. Check it out! http://www.pdga.com/introduction
- Go Kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, swimming… the list goes on and on. If you live near water your options are endless. Check out Lake Perez at Stone Valley for boat rentals
For more fun activities and local outdoor events check out onlyinyourstate.com (1) to see all your state has to offer.
Check out Penn State Adventure Recreation for all of your adventure needs!
- Only In Your State | Discover What’s In Your Own Backyard. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/
Penn State’s Exercise is Medicine on Campus program (EiM-OC) recently received gold-level status from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). By actively implementing physical activity as a vital sign of health, Penn State EiM-OC was awarded gold level recognition at the World Congress meeting in May 2017 (1).
EiM-OC aims to improve the health and wellbeing of students and faculty through physical activity. The initiative encourages physical activity as part of everyday life and overall health. At Penn State, EiM-OC initiatives include campus walks, push-up challenges, classroom presentations and promoting campus health services & fitness centers on social media. Every year in October, Kinesiology students and faculty spend a week at locations around University Park engaging the campus community in exercise and general physical fitness. The outcomes from the 2016 EiM week are available on Penn State’s EiM website (2).
Penn State EiM was founded in 2012 and awarded silver status in 2015 and 2016. Dr. Melissa Bopp, associate professor of kinesiology, and Zack Papalia, EiMOC coordinator, hope to reach even more students and increase the impact on the Penn State community in 2017-2018.