In Mid-September 2014, my travels took me to State College, Pennsylvania to give a couple talks at Penn State University. I was invited by my friends Dr. Dave Proctor and Dr. Nancy Williams from the Department of Kinesiology, who are promoting Exercise is Medicine On-Campus at Penn State. The goal EIM On-Campus programs is to get college kids around the world to be more active so they can gain the numerous health benefits associated with an active lifestyle. While there I gave an evening lecture to an enthusiastic group of faculty and students about the health benefits of physical activity and why we should think of exercise as a medicine that we all need to take to be healthy. This talk was followed the next day by a series of meetings with campus leadership and a noon seminar at the Noll Physiology Lab.
I was very impressed with the commitment PSU has made to EIM On-Campus and to making students aware of the health benefits of physical activity. They have a wide range of programs in place on campus aimed at creating an atmosphere where a physically active lifestyle is the norm for students and staff. This is so important because College is often a time when lifelong habits are developed that go on to adversely impact health in later life. The idea of giving kids, who are likely living on their own for the first time in their life, unlimited access to all-you-can eat dining hall food with no requirement to be physically active is a recipe for disaster. And the result is often weight gain (the so called “Freshman 15”) and a precipitous drop in fitness level. I think our colleges and universities can and should do more to insure that no one graduates without an understanding of the importance of exercise to their health and a lifetime plan for their own fitness. More and more we are seeing colleges and universities who agree with the principles of EIM On-Campus and taking steps to make sure it happens.
While I was at Penn State I got the chance to do a lot of walking around their beautiful campus and attend a football game. I also got to spend time with my old friend Dr. Larry Kenney, who is a long time professor of Physiology and Kinesiology there. Football games at Penn State are amazing with well over 100,000 fans typically in attendance. I watched as Penn State easily defeated the University of Massachusetts 41-7 to extend their record to 4-0. Just walking from the car to the stadium and back was enough to meet my physical activity requirements for the day!
I hope this blog finds you well and doing the walking you need to do to stay healthy.
Keep on walking my friends! Bob
Photo caption: At PSU football game with Drs. Nancy Williams and David Proctor