This year marked the second year in a row that the University of Kentucky (UK) has received the Gold Designation for its efforts in promoting physical activity on campus by the American College of Sports and Medicine (ACSM) Exercise is Medicine (EIM) initiative. Additionally, UK was also named “COVID Conqueror” for its programs’ adaptation to keep students active during the pandemic.
Designations are given based on the promotion of physical activity on campus, as well as education and integration of EIM into campus health services. Rosie Lanphere, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion in the College of Education leads the initiative at the school in tandem with the EIM on-campus student organization.
“Our goal is to promote physical activity among our students. We know that exercise is a major contributor to physical well-being and has many positive benefits for mental health. This is especially important during times of crisis, as we have seen in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lanphere said.
Recent efforts by the organization include a virtual 5K run/walk in May that raised funds to promote exercises awareness on campus. Last semester, the club also teamed up with students in a class taught by Lanphere. The class, titled Intro to Exercise Testing and Prescription had students helping out to promote the benefits of exercise across social media and in the general Lexington area where the school is situated.
Beyond its efforts on campuses, however, EIM seeks to include physical activity as a vital sign in healthcare, grouped in with the likes of blood pressure, heart rate and weight, with referrals being made to qualified fitness professionals when needed. During check-ups, providers check to see if patients receive at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise activity each week with referrals being made for those who answer no.
The process has been in implementation at the student clinic for some time, but recently it has been expanded to the UK HealthCare Women’s Health Clinic as well. The MoveWell fitness program provides the referrals when needed.