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January 28, 2011

Semester-long community fitness initiative launches at ULM

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo visited with faculty and students at the ULM Activity Center on Thursday, Jan. 27, for the launch of Exercise is Medicine on Campus initiative.

The initiative, begun last year by the American College of Sports Medicine, seeks to promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles on college campuses so that the resolution to become fit actually results in a permanent change, not just another dashed wish.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe is the first campus in Louisiana to be involved in this program, which is free and open to the public.

"It is vital for our community to realize how important exercise and fitness is," said Mayo, a 1979 ULM alum. "We don't often think of exercise as preventative medicine, but studies show that it truly is."

Kinesiology Instructor and Director of the Human Performance Lab Brian Coyne said 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.

Research shows 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.

The Kinesiology Department and the Performance Lab is partnering with the ULM Activity Center to involve the community and college campus in great fitness events throughout the semester.

Thursday's event included family friendly activities, including a Giant Boxing Ring, an Obstacle Course and a Velcro Wall to demonstrate that there are great alternative forms of physical activity that turn fitness from something potentially boring into something fun.

Coyne said there is at least one event planned each month this semester as part of the initiative, which is made possible by the generosity of Sanson Family Medicine, along with ULM's Kinesiology Department and Human Performance Lab, The Wellness Center and Anytime Fitness.

All of these initiative sponsors were at ULM's Activity Center on Thursday with booths to provide patrons information for getting and staying in shape.

Kinesiology Graduate Student Talya Williams, coordinator of the ULM Exercise is Medicine on Campus, said it is important for her department to maintain open communication within the community to help northeast Louisianans keep their New Year's goals and get in shape.

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