Houghton, MI – Michigan Tech University is one of only 153 universities and colleges around the world to be honored by Exercise is Medicine® for its efforts to create a culture of wellness on campus. Michigan Tech’s “UP and Moving” Program played a large part in helping the university to earn a silver level designation from the Exercise is Medicine® On Campus (EIM-OC) program and the COVID Conqueror badge, a new honor given to campuses that demonstrated creative adaptations to physical activity programming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are thrilled to recognize these campuses’ commitment to make movement a part of daily campus culture and equip students with tools to cultivate lifelong physical activity habits, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Robyn Stuhr, vice president of Exercise is Medicine. “These campus programs are nurturing future leaders who will advance a key tenet of Exercise is Medicine: making physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in health care.”
The UP and Moving program offers free virtual home-based physical activity workouts to keep students, staff, faculty, and community members physically active during the COVID-19 pandemic. Steven Elmer, Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, emphasized, “Physical activity is a critical strategy to combat COVID-19. Engaging in regular physical activity is considered as a “form of medicine” that can promote good physical and mental health, bolster immune function, and potentially improve prognosis in those individuals infected with COVID-19.”
Currently, the UP and Moving community-based physical activity program offers guided live workouts six days a week through Zoom and Facebook Live. Workouts are led by a team of graduate students at Michigan Tech and range from muscle strengthening exercise (i.e., weightlifting) to aerobic exercise (i.e., walking) to yoga and everything in between. The live workouts are also recorded and available to watch anytime on the program’s website, designed by Jamie Phillips, a master’s student in Kinesiology. The program goal is to help adults stay physically active during the pandemic. For substantial health benefits, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults engage in at least 150 min of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity each week and limit the amount of time spent sitting. Team member, Isaac Wedig, a doctoral student in Integrative Physiology, emphasized, “Any amount of weekly physical activity, even levels below this range, are still beneficial compared to no activity.” The home-based workouts do not require any specialized equipment and are easily adapted to fit a wide range of ages and ability levels. “Moving forward, the UP and Moving program at Michigan Tech has expanded their efforts to deliver workouts on local TV (ABC 10) and even include a DVD option for community members who are without internet,” explained Jenna Phelps, a master’s student in Kinesiology.
Of the 153 campuses recognized this year, 73 received gold, 59 silver and 21 bronze. All gold, silver and bronze universities and colleges will be officially recognized in June as part of the 2021 virtual Exercise is Medicine World Congress, held in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting. Professor Caryn Heldt, Director of the Health Research Institute at Michigan Tech, said, “We could not be prouder of Dr. Elmer and the Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology students who are having a positive impact on Michigan Tech. Through two initiatives on campus, the Michigan Tech Forward Initiative in Health and Quality of Life and the Health Research Institute, we are promoting a culture of health and well-being for all and this award exemplifies that we are making positive progress.
EIM-OC calls upon universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health and encourages faculty, staff, and students to work together to improve the health and well-being of the campus community. EIM-OC launched its recognition program in 2014 to honor campuses for their efforts to create a culture of wellness. Schools earn gold, silver or bronze status based on their activities. Gold level campuses have created a referral system where campus health care providers assess students’ physical activity and refer students as necessary to a certified fitness professional as part of medical treatment. Silver campuses engage students, faculty and staff in education initiatives and make movement part of the daily campus culture while bronze level campuses promote and generate awareness of the health benefits of physical activity.
View a complete list of EIM-OC recognized schools and learn more about the UP and Moving program at https://www.exerciseismedicine.org/support_page.php/eim-on-campus/
About Exercise Is Medicine
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) co-launched Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) in 2007 with the American Medical Association. ACSM continues to manage the global health initiative, which seeks to make physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in clinical care, connecting health care with evidence-based physical activity resources for people everywhere of all abilities. EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity promotes optimal health, is integral in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions and should be regularly assessed and included as part of health care. Visit www.ExerciseisMedicine.org for additional information.
About the American College of Sports Medicine
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. More details at www.acsm.org