UIC’s Exercise is Medicine program wins Gold Campus award

feet of person walking on a treadmill

UIC is one of 55 universities and colleges around the world to receive a Gold Campus award from the American College of Sports Medicine for its “Exercise is Medicine on Campus” program, which helps build a culture of wellness on campus.

UIC’s program, which launched in 2018, promotes physical activity and nutrition among students, faculty, staff and patients.

“The university is situated to be a gold standard — we’re a Research 1 institution — so it was important for me to be able to connect all of the vast resources that we have on this campus to educate our students about the importance of physical activity and nutrition,” said Lynne Thompson, deputy director of UIC Campus Recreation and chair of the UIC Exercise is Medicine on Campus committee.

Program initiatives include reaching students through pop-up Exercise is Medicine events; helping health care providers connect patients with fitness and nutrition resources; creating employee wellness opportunities, such as workshops on physical activity; and more.

“If you ask people if they think physical activity is good, they say, ‘Yes,’ but understanding why is important,” Thompson said. “Particularly for students, if they realize that getting the minimum physical activity helps them sleep better, handle stress better, improves mental health — it can improve so many different areas of that wellness spectrum.”

Thompson is chair of a cross-campus committee that facilitates the program and includes faculty and staff from Campus Recreation, UI Health, kinesiology and nutrition, and students in medicine and nutrition science.

“We really wanted to focus on promoting physical activity and nutrition to everyone on campus,” Thompson said. “We have so many pockets of greatness across campus and we thought if we could really tap into those different pockets and figure out how we can collectively work as a whole to make an impact on physical activity, the results of that would be amazing.”

UIC will be honored at the 2019 Exercise is Medicine World Congress, which will take place during the American College of Sport Medicine’s annual meeting May 29 in Orlando. In total, 139 universities and colleges will be recognized with gold, silver or bronze distinctions during the event.

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