Campus News

UK Recognized for Championing Exercise, Wellness on Campus in COVID-19 Pandemic

Photo by Mark Cornelison | UKphoto
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2021) — For a second year in a row, the University of Kentucky earned a Gold Campus designation by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Exercise is Medicine® initiative. UK was also named a "COVID Conqueror" for creatively adapting programs to keep students active during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The honors will be officially presented at the ACSM annual meeting, which will be a virtual conference this month.

Rosie Lanphere, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion in the College of Education, leads the initiative at UK and advises the Exercise is Medicine® on campus student organization, which is now more than 60 members strong.

The club sponsored a virtual 5K Run/Walk at the beginning of May to raise funds to help promote exercise awareness on campus. Last semester, the club teamed with students in Lanphere's Introduction to Exercise Testing and Prescription (KHP 450) to promote the benefits of exercise via social media as well as across campus and in the Lexington community.

"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.

Beyond health promotion on campus, as well as events and educational activities, Exercise is Medicine® includes measuring physical activity as a vital sign in health care, with referral to a qualified fitness professional when needed. This means that in addition to checking the usual signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate and weight, patients are asked about physical activity as a measure of overall wellness.

This process has been in place in the student clinic for some time, and last year expanded to the UK HealthCare Women’s Health Clinic. UK's MoveWell fitness program served as the referral source.

During checkups at the clinic, health care providers ask patients whether they get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Those who say no are referred to UK Health and Wellness for a series of three appointments.

For more information about health and wellness initiatives on campus, visit www.uky.edu/hr/wellness for faculty and staff and https://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/university-health-service/health-education for students.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.