The University of Limerick is one of only 139 universities and colleges around the world to be honored by Exercise is Medicine® for its efforts to create a culture of wellness on campus.
Co-Directors Dr. Brian Carson and I are extremely proud of the diverse complement of opportunities for education on and engagement in physical activity as a vital sign for health available at the University of Limerick that helped UL earn silver level designation from the Exercise Is Medicine® On Campus (EIM-OC) program.
“We are thrilled to recognize these campuses’ commitment to make movement a part of daily campus culture and give students the tools to cultivate physical activity habits that will benefit them throughout their lives,” said Robyn Stuhr, Vice President of Exercise Is Medicine. “These campus programs are nurturing future leaders who will advance a key tenet of Exercise is Medicine: making physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in health care.”
EIM-OC UL is supported by courses, classes, and seminars focused on the importance of physical activity as a vital sign and exercise as medicine, including promotion of regular physical activity to the campus and community, practical opportunities for students to engage in physical activity (e.g., campus activities like runs, health and physical activity screening, etc.), and courses and programs designed explicitly to increase student physical activity levels (BR4081: Active Body, Active Mind; START Program). Active collaborations with UL Sport, the UL Graduate Entry Medical School, and local hospitals promote and engage students, faculty/staff, patients, and community groups in physical activity. MedEx UL, an exercise-led community-based rehabilitation programme for disease prevention and management led by EIM-OC UL Leadership Team member, Professor Catherine Woods, is a flagship program that to date has engaged 40+ students in the implementation of exercise as medicine during 50+ patient visits per week. In addition, the MEDWELL program is a key example of campus-wide options to exercise through its provision of convenient lunchtime physical activity opportunities for the campus community. Finally, through our collaborations with UL Sport and the UL BEO initiative, there is a wide range of outreach, promotion, and engagement activities core to our EIM mission.
Of the 139 campuses recognized this year, 55 received gold, 56 silver and 28 bronze. All gold, silver and bronze universities and colleges were officially recognized on May 29 as part of the 2019 Exercise is Medicine World Congress, held in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL, USA, where I received UL’s Silver Campus Award on behalf of EIM-OC UL.
EIM-OC calls upon universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health and encourages faculty, staff and students to work together to improve the health and well-being of the campus community.
EIM-OC launched its recognition program in 2014 to honor campuses for their efforts to create a culture of wellness. Schools earn gold, silver or bronze status based on their activities. Gold level campuses have created a referral system where campus health care providers assess student physical activity and refer students as necessary to a certified fitness professional as part of medical treatment. Silver campuses engage students, faculty and staff in education initiatives and make movement part of the daily campus culture while bronze level campuses promote and generate awareness of the health benefits of physical activity.
Dr Matthew Herring is a Lecturer in Exercise Psychology at the Department of Physical Education & Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick. Dr Herrings current research interests focus on the effects of exercise on mental health outcomes, particularly anxiety and depression, among otherwise healthy adults and chronically-ill patients. Contact Matthew via email at Matthew.Herring@ul.ie. Twitter: @mph8