Monday, July 6, 2020

Fourth annual Healthy Homecoming Walk to take place Wednesday

September 24, 2019
<p>Sparty rides along during the MSU Homecoming Parade on Oct. 5, 2018 along Grand River Avenue.</p>

Sparty rides along during the MSU Homecoming Parade on Oct. 5, 2018 along Grand River Avenue.

Photo by CJ Weiss | The State News

Michigan State is hosting their fourth annual Exercise is Medicine on Campus Healthy Homecoming Walk on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The challenge involves walking laps around the sidewalk of the field at Demonstration Hall, about a quarter mile per lap, to compete against other EIM-OC universities nationwide.

“Exercise is Medicine On Campus (EIM-OC) is a national initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine that calls upon universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health,” Kristin Traskie, fitness & wellness programs coordinator, said via email. “EIM-OC encourages faculty, staff and students to work together toward improving the health and well-being of the campus community by making movement a part of the daily campus culture, assessing physical activity at every student health visit, providing students with the tools necessary to strengthen healthy physical activity habits that can last a lifetime and connecting university health care providers with university health fitness specialists to provide a referral system for exercise prescription.”

Usually, the event and homecoming happens in October, which is Exercise is Medicine on Campus Month. This year, those participating will be welcoming in the month.

Participants can walk anytime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“This year’s walk also falls on Weight Stigma Awareness week, so in celebration of that week, at the walk we will also [provide] activities that encourage and promote body positivity," Traskie said. 

The event started in 2016 by the Kinesiology Department. Now, volunteers from Phi Epsilon Kappa and the Kinesiology Graduate Student Organization (KGSO) also help put the walk on.

“It started back when my former student Kerri (Vasold) and I had an opportunity with an extremely short window to put this on,” Dr. James Pivarnik, faculty advisor for MSU EIM-OC, said via email. “I think basically the two of us pulled it off in about three weeks. No muss, no fuss, just do the walk around [Demonstration Hall Field] and see if it works. Much to our surprise, and great pleasure, it worked very well. So we thought it could actually be the EIM-OC signature event at MSU.”

The Healthy Homecoming Walk was created to promote exercise on campus through a simple form of movement: walking.

According to Pivarnik, the MSU community can learn more about the importance of movement on their health from attending these events.

“If someone participates in the Healthy Homecoming Walk and understands more about how simple walking and other activities of daily living can help them, and if they continue this behavior, their risk of chronic diseases decreases,” Pivarnik said. 

Along with the Healthy Homecoming Walk, the organizers of the event want the MSU community to see all the opportunities MSU offers to promote healthy living.

“Through all the activity classes offered by the Department of Kinesiology, the many programs offered by the Recreational Sports Department and the referrals given at Olin Health Center and some of the activities that they promote,” Pivarnik said. “I hope they learn that it does not take a lot to increase one’s physical activity to a healthy level, and that we now have more, and a greater variety of ways to be physically active on campus.”

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