recwell-fitness

BGSU named an ‘Exercise is Medicine Gold Campus’ for second year in a row

American College of Sports Medicine recognizes University for promoting physical activity as vital sign of health

By Bob Cunningham ’18

Even a global pandemic couldn’t prevent Bowling Green State University from being recognized as an “Exercise is Medicine Gold Campus” by the American College of Sports Medicine for the second year in a row.

Exercise is Medicine® On Campus (EIM-OC) calls upon universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health. EIM-OC encourages faculty, staff and students to work together toward improving the health and well-being of the campus community by making movement a part of the daily campus culture, assessing physical activity at every student health visit, providing students with the tools necessary to strengthen healthy, physical activity habits that can last a lifetime, and connecting university health care providers with university health fitness specialists to provide a referral system for exercise prescription.

“Participants in the program get to see a personal trainer, typically an exercise science or kinesiology major, six times throughout the course of about two months,” said Jessica Kiss, an assistant teaching professor/ laboratory coordinator in exercise science who also serves as graduate coordinator in the School of Human Movement, Sport, & Leisure Studies in the College of Education and Human Development. “And they would also get a membership to the Student Recreation Center for two months as part of that program. It really promoted the mission that ‘exercise is medicine.’”

The exercise referral program through the Falcon Health Center helped BGSU earn that top-level recognition. Universities are recognized as a bronze, silver or gold-level institution, based on its efforts to create a healthy environment for its campus community.

“Exercise is Medicine On Campus is a way to really promote physical activity on our campuses,” Kiss said. “BGSU has this wonderful community of students, faculty and staff, and if we're able to reach outside of our campus, then that's also a bonus as well.”

The program allows students pursuing a career in exercise science to have the opportunity to work with real patients and apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-life situations. The program also encourages universities to provide different types of programing. BGSU provides educational sessions for students, faculty, staff and organizations on campus as well as group exercise classes at the Student Recreation Center.

“We offered a walk with the leaders program and deans of the colleges volunteered their time to walk with faculty, staff and students during our lunch break,” Kiss said. “Those things are really important for us to promote on campus, but the reason why we're gold status campus is because we have a referral program.

“The referral program includes health professionals, which could be dietitians, counseling services or our physicians partnering with exercise professionals. The health professionals are seeing patients at the Falcon Health Center, and as part of their wellness visit every year they provide this connection with campus recreation if the patient would like to start an exercise program.”

In 2020, 153 universities were recognized for their Exercise Is Medicine on Campus Program. Eighty-eight universities earned gold status, with BGSU also receiving the "COVID Conqueror Badge" for demonstrating creative adaptations to physical activity programming during the pandemic.

One of the programs launched during the COVID-19 pandemic was a virtual wellness challenge, a checklist of 28 activities that could be performed online or offline such as completing a 30-minute, outdoor workout; meditating for 10 minutes; participating in a virtual 5K; or filling your plate with fruits and vegetables five times in a week.

“Campus Recreation offered a lot of online opportunities and continued to provide programing for faculty, staff and students because we knew that they wanted to attend those group exercise classes or participate in a virtual 5K,” Kiss said.

Faculty, staff, students and community members can find more information about the University’s Exercise is Medicine programming on the BGSU RecWell website.

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349