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February 17, 2011

"Exercise is Medicine" initiative continues with expert speaker Feb. 24

The semester-long "Exercise is Medicine on Campus" initiative continues this month at the University of Louisiana at Monroe with featured speaker, James Pivarnik, Ph.D., FACSM, a professor of kinesiology and epidemiology at Michigan State University.

Pivarnik is a leader of the American College of Sports Medicine "Exercise is Medicineā„¢ On Campus" initiative and will speak from 10 a.m. to noon on Feb. 24 in the School of Nursing Auditorium.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe is the first campus in Louisiana to be involved in this program, according to Kinesiology Instructor and Director of the Human Performance Lab Brian Coyne.

Pivarnik, February's featured speaker, directs the Center for Physical Activity and Health at Michigan State and serves as a University Research Integrity Officer.

He is a nationally recognized expert on issues related to exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. As an exercise physiologist and epidemiologist, his focus is on the role of physical activity in reducing the risk factors for chronic disease development and the morbidity and mortality of those suffering from these conditions.

Dr. Sandra Lemoine, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, attended the First World Congress in June 2010, where Exercise is Medicine was first launched.

"This is a global initiative focusing on disease prevention and health promotion," she said. "The Department of Kinesiology is to be commended for promoting this initiative on the ULM campus."

Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than almost anything else a person can do to maintain weight loss and improve overall health, according to Coyne.

Studies show that it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis symptoms.

Dr. Pivarnik's ACSM presidency was marked by an increased emphasis on graduate students as the future of the profession of sports medicine and exercise science.

Kinesiology Graduate Student Talya Williams, coordinator of the ULM Exercise is Medicine on Campus, said it is important for her area to establish open communication within the community and initiatives such as these go a long way in achieving that goal.

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