Exercise is Medicine on Campus initiative kicks off

WSU President Kirk Schulz, Provost Dan Bernardo expected to walk in EIM program


RYAN PUGH | The Daily Evergreen

Ariel Bowman, left, and Dr. Christopher Connolly speak about raising awareness for their project Wednesday in the Physical Education Building.

DANIEL PARAMO, Evergreen reporter

WSU is kicking off its initiative to spread awareness for a healthy lifestyle through exercise. The Pullman campus has partnered with the American College of Sports Medicine to promote the Exercise is Medicine global health initiative to both students and faculty.

The EIM initiative is focused on encouraging primary care physicians to include physical exercise when designing treatment plans for patients, according to the EIM official website.

Chris Connolly, director of the Exercise Physiology and Performance Laboratory at WSU, believes EIM could be the next step in improving the lives of students and faculty on campus.

“People only see doctors when there’s a problem,” Connolly said. “We want to work to prevent pain and injuries.”

At WSU, the path to implementing the initiative has been steadily developing. Over the past several years, Connolly has made steps to progress research and introduce the initiative. He and his department opened the Exercise Physiology and Performance Laboratory three years ago.

The lab is a small gym where Connolly and others can conduct research with the goal of improving and promoting health and quality of life. It initially helped Connolly conduct his own research on the effects that physical activity has on women’s health during pregnancy, but he said he has since seen its use expanded.

WSU began a program for its non-student staff and faculty, dubbed the Cougar Employee Wellness Program, last year. CEWP works to improve physical health among staff to promote a higher level of productivity in both athletics and academics.

The program has reached 100 participants, and has been received well across the board, he said. Members of the program have seen an overall increase in fitness and a decrease in health care costs, Connolly said.

Led by Ariel Bowman, senior kinesiology major and student coordinator of the EIM initiative, along with Connolly, today marks the start of the EIM initiative on campus.

Bowman had to devote a lot of time to getting the initiative off the ground. She is a full-time student, and has a job on top of helping run the EIM initiative.

“There have been so many people to coordinate with,” Bowman said. “The most difficult thing about this program has been all the communication involved.”

Connolly and Bowman are part of a team that is working to advertise EIM to students and faculty, and while they cannot currently promote through University Recreation, they are excited to get the word out.

A few all-campus walks will take place today: one at 12 p.m., one at 12:30 p.m. and the final at 1 p.m. WSU President Kirk Schulz and Provost Dan Bernardo will be walking in the 1 p.m. slot, according to the EIM website. The walks will begin at the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall and will circle campus before returning to the CUB, where there will be an exhibition of exercise-related clubs.

Other events, including free yoga classes and endurance tests, will take place throughout the week.

The EIM team has also scheduled a presentation from keynote speakers professor Phillip Morgan and Dr. Leyen Vu at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Those interested in EIM can contact Chris Connolly at [email protected] or Ariel Bowman at [email protected], or visit the EIM official website for more information.