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March 14, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

Norton names April 'Month of Movement'

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Ok, Slippery Rock University, get ready to move, move, move.

One person who doesn't need encouragement to get shakin' is Jeff Lynn, SRU professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences. But, even he has been pleased by the holistic embrace of fitness on campus, which President Cheryl Norton is taking to yet another level by declaring April the "Month of Movement."

"We have many opportunities for people to keep moving and will be introducing new programs in April," he said.

Norton's "Month of Movement" will build momentum on the fitness programs already in place and add a triathlon, 5K at SRU's Storm Harbor Equestrian Center and newly created events specific to the month.

Lynn and Randall Nichols, professor of physical and health education, are taking the reigns for the month. They are busying planning activities and consulting with faculty and students. Activities are planned for nearly every weekday, including cycling, tai chi, paddle boarding in the swimming pool, a wellness expo and a "Day of Play" in The Quad.

Speakers will also address crisis issues such as childhood obesity.

"We have the concept of creating a culture on campus of health and fitness," Nichols said. "To me, that is the underlining theme of the month.

Lynn and Nichols said they hope the takeaway from the program is that people understand that movement is fun, not drudgery.

"I want people to play more. I want them to enjoy being physically active, which is playing," Nichols said. "I tell people, find something you enjoy. Keep searching for that something that you enjoy. It doesn't have to be 'working out' in the traditional manner that most of think about when we think of physical activity."

Under Norton's leadership, SRU established a President's Commission on Wellness, which has taken the lead for initiating many fitness programs, including zumba, yoga, tai chi, run club, the 10,000 Steps Walking Challenge and others.

"The University has very, very strong roots in physical activity-related disciplines, and all of our programs that have branched out of that are very strong," Lynn said. "It's part of our identity. Now what we are doing is highlighting that part of our culture and lighting the fire for the future."

Lynn said he is issuing a challenge corresponding to the University's celebration of its 125th anniversary.

"What if each person at the University said, 'I'm going to spend 125 seconds doing some fun activity every day in April," he said. "Everyone can do that and make the commitment to moving around and doing something fun for 125 seconds."

Said Nichols, "As soon as you do 125 seconds, you realize, wow, I can do 130 seconds. I can do 400 seconds. Wow, this is really easy. And then all of a sudden you're up to 20 minutes."

Lynn said an attitude shift toward fitness is needed, one that reconnects people to their childhood.

"Kids are physically active because playing is fun," he said. "And somewhere along the line, when you talk about physical activity, people start calling it a workout. Little kids never think, 'I'm going to workout.' They think they're going to play and have fun. But somewhere along the way we have lost that."

"We don't have to lose that. Once of the things we like to do is to have people get back in touch with play and ask them what's on their playlist? Get out and move, and have fun with it."

Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.