May 4, 2018

Exercise Is Medicine Day” Had WCU’s Campus Moving & Shaking

Students ready for Exercise DayFrom a morning walk across campus to a Tai Chi stress-buster session on the Academic Quad to breathing & barefoot assessments, national “Exercise is Medicine Day” brought the general public together with West Chester University students, faculty, and staff on Thursday, May 3, for free movement lessons and health education. As a registered participant of the national Exercise is Medicine on Campus program, WCU is encouraging its students, faculty, staff, and those in the surrounding community to work together to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Sponsored by the College of Health Sciences, indoor and outdoor activities were held throughout the campus.

Following a one-mile walk, participants kicked-off the day listening to the inspiring words of Sue Weldon, Unite for HER founder and breast cancer survivor. The WCU alumna established the non-profit organization in 2009 after discovering a dearth in the amount of resources dedicated to wellness services for women undergoing cancer treatment. She advised those in attendance to integrate additional methods of wellness into any medical treatment, and discussed the positive value of practicing acupuncture, massage yoga, good nutrition, and counseling to enhance human needs.

Student taking blood pressureThe energy-packed day was filled with fitness evaluations and testing; therapy dogs and blood pressure checks; sweat testing, fluid replacement, and landing error scoring; sun safety tips; pulmonary function testing, and oxygen and carboxyhemoglobin saturation measuring; voice disorder prevention tips; Lyme disease prevention and physical safety tips; and lots of prizes. Nutrition Department students even distributed nearly 400 chick pea, "no tuna," salad wraps and banana whip treats.

"This year was such a success, because we involved all departments and areas of the College in today's activities," said Scott Heinerichs, interim dean and professor of sports medicine, College of Health Sciences. "We had a tremendous outpouring of attendance from students, faculty, staff, and members of the community. I am happy that we were able to offer this valuable and informative day to so many."

Among those who enjoyed the energy-filled day were approximately 60 students who traveled from William Tennent High School, located in Warminster, and more than 40 high school students from The Chester Charter School for the Arts, located in Chester. The University’s College of Health Sciences has a current partnership with the Chester Charter School for the Arts that helps the students make informed decisions about health science professions via intentional mentoring and experiential learning.

Community partners were also on hand, including the Chester County Health Department, which discussed the WalkWorks program, and the Spasmodic Dysphonia Support Group from Chester and Montgomery counties, which provided information about spasmodic dysphonia.

"The day exceeded our expectations," said event coordinator Melissa Reed, interim associate dean and associate professor of kinesiology, College of Health Sciences. "As an active participant in the Exercise is Medicine on Campus program, our goal is to make physical activity a fun and daily occurrence for everyone. We want our students and those in our community to strengthen healthy habits, so they can live long lives. Today was great day to make this initiative so public."

Students stretching in The QuadNumerous other community partners joined the WCU celebration of all things healthy, nutritious, and wise. Among the many partners were AREUFIT, A.C. Moore, Zoë's Kitchen, P.J. Whelihan's, The BAT, Riverton Country Club, The Physical therapy and Wellness Institute, Chester county Hospital-Penn Medicine, Wawa, Planet Fitness, Ram's Diner, Orange Theory Fitness, Lumi Organics, The Movement Paradigm, and more.

A national effort, Exercise is Medicine Month is a joint initiative between the American Medical Association and the American College of Sports Medicine to promote physical activity as prevention and treatment of chronic disease.

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