SRU's Commission on Wellness promotes seven dimensions of well-being
Sept. 5, 2017
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The start of a new academic year often marks a change in one's personal routine. Keeping up with the demands of a new schedule can often result in letting certain healthy practices go by the wayside. That challenge makes September the perfect month to focus on the Slippery Rock University President's Commission on Wellness.
"You're leaving home and a routine you're accustomed to, and coming to college where you're trying to find yourself and see who you are," said Logan Hagerman, a senior exercise science major from York. "By incorporating (a focus on wellness) into (daily life), you can get into a routine of doing things well throughout college in order to stay healthy."
Hagerman works at SRU's Aebersold Student Recreation Center and is also an intern in SRU's Exercise is Medicine on Campus program. The national EIMOC program calls upon universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health. At SRU, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to work together toward improving the health and well-being of the campus community. The program encourages the campus community to engage in regular physical activity, providing a variety of diverse opportunities to be active, and providing personalized exercise programs to help individuals reach their exercise goals.
"There are so many health benefits behind all the different things exercise can do for you in a positive way," said Joy Urda, assistant professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, who cited an exercise-as-a-pill adage from the American College of Sports Medicine. "If you could prescribe one pill to cure every disease or at least have a part in helping the signs and symptoms of those diseases, would you prescribe it? Of course, you would. (That pill) could come in the form of exercise."
According to the American College Health Association's National College Health Assessment, half of all SRU students surveyed last spring met the recommendations for exercise by the ACSM and the American Heart Association.
Mental health awareness, or emotional wellness, emerged as an important area of focus, as 28.7 percent of SRU students in the ACHA-NCHA reported stress as affecting their individual academic performance, which was the top impediment listed. Anxiety was second at 23.7 percent.
However, wellness doesn't just come from exercise or even physical activity, and students don't have to wait until they are prescribed an exercise is medicine program as a plethora of September activities are on tap for everyone courtesy of the commission.
Now in its fifth year, the goal of the commission is to empower individuals to make choices and enact behaviors that positively influence their wellness by addressing seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual.
"It's about bringing the awareness to make a conscience effort to move forward with your health and bringing a culture of being well," Urda said. "Everybody may be doing something different to bring awareness, but we can bring it together as one collaborative effort."
Planned programs range from yoga and meditation to financial and environmental wellness.
"We want to work together and make sure we aren't focusing on one dimension of wellness, physical activity, but including other dimensions as well," said Betsy Kemeny, assistant professor of parks, conservation and recreational therapy, who, along with Urda, is serving as a commission co-chair.
Some of the activities include a combination of dimensions. For example, yoga is a physical activity that can also relieve emotional stress. Even the Wellness 5K Run/2K Walk, although scheduled for Oct. 15, just outside the commission's "month," promotes both physical and social wellness.
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