UAH named one of the fittest colleges in the country

trainersHUNTSVILLE, Ala. (September 12, 2012) — While Alabama remains one of the fattest states in the nation, the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAHuntsville) was recently named one of the fittest colleges in the country for the implementation of the campus fitness initiative Just Move It.

The honor was bestowed on UAHuntsville by Fitbie, a new interactive fitness site and wellness channel on UAHuntsville was ranked with 19 other colleges in the country as one of “The 20 Fittest Colleges in America,” receiving an A+ by the web site.

Just Move It (JMI) is UAHuntsville’s 10-week fitness initiative that is open to all faculty, staff, students, and alumni. sencourages the university community to get up and get moving and to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors.

“This is an extremely exciting honor for us because it shows that we are making a difference here on our campus for students, faculty, staff and alumni.  We hope that during our 10-week program these activities and health behaviors will become habits for all participants,” said David Kyle, senior associate director of the UAHuntsville Health & Physical Education Department.

A recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report said 32 percent of Alabama’s adults are obese. The CDC report said further, that Alabama’s obesity rate was slight better than Mississippi, Louisiana and West Virginia.

JMI began on the UAHuntsville campus in 2006, as a joint effort between the Health & Physical Education Department, University Fitness Center, and the College of Nursing.Each January the program officially kicks off with individual and team-oriented fitness goals. Individual participants and teams can track their progress and earn their points online.

Our initial concept when developing JMI was based on research showing the benefits of exercise for employees and students,” said Kyle. “It’s well documented that students learn better, sleep better, handle stress better, and are more socially active when they exercise.It is also known that healthy, fit employees have higher morale and job satisfaction, improved self-image and cope with stress better. They also have lower out of pocket health care costs and provide their employer more productivity and decreased absenteeism.”

swimmerExercising, attending wellness seminars, and adopting more healthy lifestyles all earn participants JMI points. “A big key to a successful program is to make health and fitness activities easily accessible and socially motivating,” said Liz Redding, JMI program director.  “That is what we do with JMI.  We encourage activity by giving points based on any type of exercise and we sponsor numerous health seminars and activities throughout the program.  We love to see the camaraderie and team spirit when participants are working together and supporting each other.”

The JMI 2013 program will kick off on Monday, January 28, and run through Monday, April 8.  “There will be new health seminars and healthy behaviors to adopt, as well as some of our standard offerings, such as Scale Back Alabama and our Ladies Self Defense workshop,” said Redding. “We will also start a Just Tri It program that prepares participants for their first triathlon, which will be held on the UAHuntsville campus at the end of the JMI program.

 “We had nearly 400 participants take part in the program in 2012, logging over 11,000 hours of exercise during the 10-week program. We also had eighty participants take part in Scale Back Alabama, the statewide weight loss contest, and lose 300 pounds. And, we had 40 new runners participate in Just Run It, our 5K training program. That’s a lot of healthy living,” said Redding.

For the last two years, UAHuntsville has run JMI in conjunction with Scale Back Alabama. According to news reports, the annual Scale Back Alabama program drew almost 30,000 participants in 2012 who lost a combined 148,963 pounds.

 For more information
Joyce Anderson-Maples (256) 824-2101


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