BJU is joining over 250 universities around the globe in the Exercise is Medicine on Campus initiative to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health on college campuses.
Dr. Stephen Chen, chair of the Division of Exercise and Sport Science, said the University has recently registered to support the initiative. Exercise is Medicine was founded by the American College of Sports Medicine as a global initiative to make exercise assessment a priority of medical professionals when caring for their patients.
Its goal is to encourage healthcare professionals to make physical activity a vital sign of health and to encourage physical activity as an additional treatment to many medical conditions and as a preventative healthcare step. EIM-OC is a focused initiative for college communities under the larger, global health initiative of Exercise is Medicine.
“What we want, basically, is to promote physical activity as a vital sign and for us to collaborate with students, faculty and staff to promote health and well-being,” Chen said. Chen said he’s been aware of the initiative for several years, although the University just began discussing implementing the initiative last year. “We decided to collaborate with some students in our major to get us registered,” Chen said.
The initiative is led by a team of faculty, students and health care professionals. BJU’s team adviser is Vickie Britton of the Division of Exercise and Sport Science faculty. Local physical therapist and BJU alumnus Dr. Brandon Moss is the team’s healthcare professional.
Chen is the health fitness professional for the team which also includes two student representatives: senior exercise science major Bailey Martin and junior exercise science major Hannah Hill. While the initiative is new to the University, the team already has many ideas about implementing it on campus, including a fitness challenge for students to participate in. Chen said their first step is a section of tips and advice related to physical activity in The Collegian. See page 6 for their first advice section.
“There are a lot of topics we can cover,” Chen said. “Our goal is to increase awareness and help students reduce the barriers, to start a program, or to maintain what they do to be physically active.” Chen said they hope to have workshops on physical activity that will be open to the entire campus.
They also plan to have health and fitness assessments in the human performance lab, currently located in the Davis Field House, which would include body fat and muscle analysis as well as aerobic and muscular fitness. “Those are things we can assess if [students] want to know more about their body,” he said.
He said they also hope to provide one-on-one personal training to interested individuals on campus. Student representative for the initiative Hannah Hill said she hopes to cultivate an atmosphere that encourages people to be more mindful about physical activity as well as spread knowledge about why it is so important.
“I really do think that exercise is more than just a fitness or athletic type thing,” Hill said. “I think that the body, spirit and mind . . . are connected, and if one of them is suffering, the rest is going to suffer as well.”
Hill said the initiative raises questions for Christians about how they take care of their bodies as the temple of God. “If we are physically incapable of doing a task, or we’re unhealthy and not able to serve as much, or if it even shortens our life, what is that doing for the Christian faith and the cause?” she said.