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University of Miami Recognized as Gold-Level ‘Exercise is Medicine’ Campus

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    CHAMP-stretchCORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 22, 2018)— The University of Miami has earned gold-level status for its Exercise is Medicine on Campus (EIMOC) programs, an initiative led by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and American Medical Association to promote physical activity and health on college campuses.

    UM earned EIMOC’s highest recognition for creating partnerships between healthcare and exercise departments that provide physical-activity prescriptions and encourage students and employees to take advantage of recreational facilities and health and fitness programming.

    The University is among 38 gold-level colleges and universities that will be recognized for their EIMOC programs at a special session, held in conjunction with the annual ACSM meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 30.

    “This recognition is a result of many collaborations of the entire University community to promote exercise,” said Tony Musto, director of fitness programs at the Herbert Wellness Center and UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center. “What is really impressive is that most of the programs and protocols that earned us this award have been in place for years, clearly showing how advanced we are.”

    UM’s EIMOC initiative includes several programs and services hosted by the UM Wellness Centers for students, employees, and community members promoting safe, smart, and effective physical activity. Currently 500+ individuals participate in EIMOC activities between both UM campuses.

    For individuals prescribed physical activity supervised by exercise professionals like physiologists, the Herbert Wellness Center and UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center offer the Supervised Exercise Program. Intended to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, mood, concentration, and sleep patterns, the Supervised Exercise Program targets individuals with cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.

    Research shows that physically inactive older adults who become active can offset 50 percent or more of their physical loss during these years. Living Independently Through Fitness and Exercise (L.I.F.E.) at the Herbert Wellness Center is designed specifically for individuals 65 years of age or older to improve strength and flexibility, enhance activities of daily living, remain independent for as long as possible, and prevent falls.

    Further, there are approximately seven to 10 million people worldwide living with Parkinson’s disease, and studies show that the repetitive rhythm and movements of cycling help decrease symptoms in Parkinson’s patients. Exercise helps people with Parkinson’s maintain balance, mobility, and daily living activity. Following its success at the UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center, the Herbert Wellness Center introduced Cycling for Parkinson’s, a program in line with the most current research indicating the benefits of cycling. The program features two one-hour cycling sessions a week where participants are able to keep a steady pace.

    Another EIMOC initiative is SHAPE-UP, an incentive program designed to encourage participation in fitness and wellness programs. Full-time and regular part-time UM faculty and staff, and their spouses who have UM health insurance, are eligible to earn a 20 percent rebate on the cost of a membership by checking in and working out at either wellness center at least 10 times a month.

    In order to coordinate these programs, the Herbert Wellness Center works with a committee of collaborators comprising colleagues from the Department of Wellness and Recreation, Student Health Services, the Student Counseling Center, Housing and Residential Life, the Sandler Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education, and ’Canes Care for ’Canes. This committee creates programs to address overarching health and fitness needs for students and staff, utilizing the resources and expertise of each department.

    To continue its legacy, UM continues to educate physicians and wellness professionals on the importance of EIMOC initiatives. Third-year medical students attend a mandatory Wellness Week as part of their general primary care clerkship. This five-day rotation includes nutrition education and smoking cessation but focuses on understanding EIMOC through a basic fitness assessment and consultation, a one-hour observation of a supervised exercise program, exercise prescription education for special populations, and explanation of and mandatory attendance to five various group exercise classes.

    This is the first year ACSM has recognized UM’s EIMOC program, which provides the opportunity for campuses to enhance their image as a healthy academic environment, emphasizing the commitment to utilizing exercise as medicine to create a culture of wellness.


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