Exercise Science & Wellness Management – is that even a major?

(sigh!) The all too often question we get from students and parents which demonstrates the lack of knowledge of this silently booming industry. Are you surprised to learn Exercise Science students take rigorous science courses such as Biology, Human Structure & Function, Exercise Physiology, Nutrition and Kinesiology? This Exercise Science undergraduate major now becomes an ideal primer for graduate programs such as Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. Exercise Science students learn how to conduct such health assessments as blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose, air displacement plethysmography, pulse oximetry and biofeedback technology also preparing students for such graduate medical programs as Physician Assistants.

Even the health reform emphasizes preventive medicine! Many healthcare professionals are finally joining the national movement of Exercise is Medicine, “improving the health and well-being of our nation through a regular physical activity prescription from doctors and other health care providers.”

The Wall Street Journal affirms this choice major for landing a “plum job” whereas this “…profession [is] so popular that lawyers, dentists and English teachers are ditching those careers” for Kinesiology related opportunities. A plethora of opportunities are available for Kinesiology majors – corporate wellness director, exercise specialist, community recreation director, strength & conditioning coach, personal trainer, health educator and more!

At USciences Exercise Science is a growing major and THE most popular minor on campus with students of all majors constantly requesting to be admitted into Kinesiology courses. Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Biology and even Pharmacy majors realize and appreciate the benefits of learning more about the science of exercise and overall wellness. EVERY profession is affected by wellness.  SO TAKE NOTE! Kinesiology is THE place to be in 2013!


Helliker, K. (2012, December 20). Stop mocking the gym majors. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324407504578187670274268876.html?KEYWORDS=kinesiology#articleTabs%3Darticle

Exercise is Medicine (n.d.). Retrieved from http://exerciseismedicine.org/physicians.htm




Don’t Worry Jeremy…A Job in Exercise Science Awaits

Jeremy Epstein, a 20-year old EXERCISE SCIENCE major asked the presidential candidates for reassurance for himself and his parents about post-graduation employment. Did the candidates realize that Jeremy is in a rapidly developing field with a plethora of opportunities! Exercise Science is a quietly booming program for the student who not only has the degree but who graduates with certifications, internships, and fieldwork experience. These acquired skills are what separate the USciences’ Exercise Science & Wellness Management majors from the rest of the competition.

A Field In Demand

Exercise Science & Wellness Management majors are in demand particularly in corporate wellness. More employers than ever are looking for exercise specialists, program directors and wellness managers to lower their company’s healthcare costs, improve productivity and employee morale. Human Resource Management (2006) states that 62% of employers already have wellness programs in place. The job growth of wellness professionals, particularly health educators, is expected to increase by 37% through 2020 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012).  The healthcare reform provides for employers to incentivize employees to participate in wellness programs by offering a 20% reduction in healthcare premiums.  The incentive increases to 30% by 2014. The focus is now on preventive action and the Exercise Science & Wellness Management student is in desperately needed to lead the way. National initiatives such as Exercise is Medicine, Health People 2020, Couch to 5K, 10,000 Steps A Day and even treadmill workstations are now common in the corporate world.

Exercise Science & Wellness Management students may also find positions in colleges, high schools and community centers and recreation areas as strength & conditioning specialists, wellness directors, health educators, public health specialists and even as wellness coaching entrepreneurs.

Training and Certification Program Comes to USciences

USciences is hosting the National Wellness Institute Certified Worksite Wellness Specialist training and certification in April 2013.  Over 125 wellness practitioners and several of our students will partake in this intense training and national qualifying exam to become Certified Worksite Wellness Specialists. Our students who graduate from our accredited Exercise Science & Wellness Management program with a minimum GPA of 2.75 are also eligible to receive the Certified Wellness Practitioner (CWP) designation. We offer our students certification classes in Professional Rescuer CPR/AED & First Aid and preparatory classes for the American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Exam and the National Strength & Conditioning Association Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam as well as provide instruction in vital sign assessments such as cholesterol and glucose testing, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, muscular strength and endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance and biofeedback technology.

Don’t you worry, Jeremy…the Exercise Science & Wellness Management jobs are out there.  The American Journal of Health Promotion (2012) affirms that wellness is a billion dollar industry. Students from USciences are the qualified professionals who will be hired for these positions without someone telling them “the future is bright.” We already know it is.


MOVE more & eat smarter!

DIET – what immediately comes to your mind? Does a groan escape your lips? It does from mine!  I happen to enjoy eating…especially plain M&M’s...preferably holiday colored. Ahem...I digress. 

So often we hear about the latest diets or how little we can eat on a particular food intake plan – do you really believe this way of eating is sustainable throughout your life?  Never to eat a bagel, pretzel or other carb (GASP!) again? Or drinking sugar water when you get hungry until the growling in your stomach passes?

Many of us believe that the focus of combating the obesity epidemic or perhaps in an effort to shrink our own waistline is to focus solely on restrictive food intake. Research suggests that reduce caloric intake MUST BE BALANCED with increased physical activity to produce significant and long-lasting results. Just as the individual who performs 500 crunches a day as his only form of exercise (but still over consuming calories) will not develop six-pack abs. It comes back to the old adage – calories in and calories out. What we intake in food we must output in exercise. We must combine a reduction in food intake with increased physical activity.

So WHAT a FABULOUS reason to join me each Wednesday for Walking Wednesdays & every other Tuesday for Beginners Yoga! TRY IT!  You KNOW you want to!


Fruits of the season may also help decrease the risk of obesity-related diabetes & cardiovascular disease

Ahhh...the steaminess of July brings refreshing sweet treats ripe for the picking. Choose from luscious blueberries, black raspberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, nectarines, peaches, plums, red raspberries, cherries & watermelon. Now there may be even more reason to eat these healthy fruits as a new study suggests that fruits with stones such as plums, nectarines & peaches may lower the risk of metabolic syndrome.The investigators from Texas A&M University will present more information about the study next August at the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia.


An Attitude of Gratitude

Did you ever know a person who seems happy ALL THE TIME? (and no, contrary to popular belief the author is definitely not one of them). Did that person ever make you feel a little better about your day while simultaneously annoying you? “What does she have that I don’t?” you may wonder. “How can she be so happy when so much is going wrong? Is she oblivious or just not intelligent?”

Or maybe…just possibly she has been able to see all that she does have and she has learned to be thankful for those things. Have you ever really stopped to think about all that you DO have in your life right at this moment? Not the fancy convertible or the shore house (although these are awesome too), but just the things we take for granted that others may treasure. You have the eyes and the educated ability to read this blog. You are breathing right now unassisted. You woke up today.

One of the six aspects of wellness as defined by the National Wellness Institute is the emotional dimension which translates into optimism. Positive feeling, not just thinking can stimulate a more optimistic outlook and activity in life which can lead to a healthier well-being. Realistically life is not all sunshine and puppy dogs but we can take time to focus upon what Deborah Norville states as the “two most important words that you’ll say today that will change your life and science is proving it.” The best part is that you only have to say it to yourself and feel it. So when was the last time you said thank you?

So often we focus upon the negative…my job doesn’t pay much…I had to drive to work today…no one helps me…I only had time for one coffee. What if we changed our thinking and feeling into something positive about our situation? Something for which to be grateful?

Thank you for allowing me to be able to have a job. Thank you for the parking spot I got today. Thank you for the chivalrous gentleman who held the door open for me. Thank you for the yummy coffee I had this morning.

Wellness is not just about physical activity and nutrition. It is about the whole thinking and feeling person. It takes practice of course, just as any learned skill. But if research such as posted in the Harvard Medical School Mental Health Newsletter (2011) is focusing on the positive outcome of gratitude and well-being why not try it for yourself?

Here…I’ll start it for you…thank you for finishing this blog.


Healthy Holiday Gifts & Tips

We want to encourage physical activity in our kids as well as within each other, but how do we do that without being offensive or downright boring? Give a gym membership? Never! A workout video? Zzzzz…try something new! But how much will this cost?

Worried about the budget? No need! Here is a list of holiday gifts to keep everyone happy & active ranging from the frugal to the frivolous:

• Jump Rope
• Sidewalk Chalk for Hopscotch (or use carpet pieces for inside hopscotch!)
• Twister
• T-ball starter set with net
• Pogo stick
• Scooter
• Bike
• Roller Blades
• Soccer Ball
• Football
• Basketball
• Volleyball
• Baseball, bat & glove
• Ice Skates
• Sled
• Skateboard
• Slide
• Climber
• Mini trampoline with handlebar
• Snowboard
• Golf clubs
• Snowshoes
• Kinect for Xbox 360
• Bounce House
• Swing Set

Parents don’t be afraid to join in the fun! You and your children will be getting exercise, having fun and making memories – much more long lasting than another doll or video game. Take my daughter’s 70 year-old grandmother who does not hesitate to jump into the bounce house or go sledding with all of the kids. I am 41 years old and I have a Razor Scooter to keep up with my child’s own scooter. This year amidst the office party, the stuffy holiday gathering, the prim and properness of it all – have fun. Be active. Make a memory with those closest to you!

And whenever you start to feel an activity is a little too “silly” to engage in with your kids remember this…
“That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don't remember what it's like to be twelve years old. They patronize; they treat children as inferiors.” - Walt Disney

This year celebrate the memories not the materials.


The Biggest Loser WINS BIG!

A front page story in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “University of the Sciences Bod Pod measures body fat percentage,” focuses on the University's Biggest Loser competition that hosted 33 contestants this past semester: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/120586549.html

Way back in January the Exercise Science & Wellness Managment program began accepting faculty, staff and student participants to compete against one another for the title of The Biggest Loser and a $250 first place prize.  There were, however, a few differences in comparing this contest to the reality TV show.  Each participant was given the option of having an ESWM student as their own personal Wellness Coach and the winner would be determined based upon fat percentage lost, not pounds.  The participants were assessed in the Bod Pod - an egg shaped device that uses Air Displacement Plethysmography to determine the subject’s body composition. When the brief, non-invasive tests are finished, (subjects sits comfortably in the Bod Pod, breathing normally for a total of 120 seconds), the computer prints out the personalized data, including body composition results (fat mass vs lean mass) and recommended caloric intake depending on the subject’s physical activity level. The BOD POD also measures the resting metabolic rate (RMR) which is the amount of energy body uses at rest. University of the Sciences is one of four locations to have a BOD POD, including the Philadelphia Eagles, West Chester University, and Lincoln University.

When it came down to naming the winner during the last week of April, one person stood above all the rest - Brigid Isackman with ESWM minor/Biology major, Lindsay Hummel, as her Wellness Coach.  The cumulative fat loss among all participants was a whopping 59%


Put a little spring in your step!

Ahh...34 days from today is the first day of spring.  The sun shines brighter, the birds tweet a little louder, the warm air beckons us to relocate outside to brush those cobwebs from our sneakers.  BUT WAIT!  Before you start planning your first marathon or pledge to walk every day to get yourself in swimsuit shape, remember these tips:

  • Visit your physician for a check-up and clearance to exercise.
  • Check those sneakers for wear & tare.  Replace them about every 350-500 miles.  Better yet, check the soles to see if they are they worn.
  • Get some helpful tips from a certified personal trainer - many will offer free consults!  (Check certifications. The top ones are NSCA/CSCS, ACSM, ACE, and NASM).
  • START SLOWLY!  You probably have not done much this winter, so don't push too hard, too soon.  Work up to it so as to prevent injury.
  • ENJOY the beautiful weather & start doing something for your own wellness today! You are worth it!




Healthy Holiday Food for Thought


We all want to enjoy the delicious holiday goodies during this time of the year and we certainly can!  Remember keeping everything in moderation will help you maintain your weight and start the New Year off on a healthy note!  Just keep some of these helpful options in mind when choosing which foods to indulge:


*Slice of pumpkin pie                   or                                       Slice of pecan pie
190 FEWER calories                         
11 grams LESS fat
Rich in Vitamin A                  


Roast duck, roast goose              or                                       *Roast turkey
More fat in these two items over even dark meat turkey.


Jellied cranberry sauce               or                                       *Fresh cranberry relish
190 calories per ½ cup                                                             95 calories per ½ cup
                                                                                              Fiber too!


*1 ounce of peanuts                    or                                        1 ounce of macadamia nuts             (1/4 cup )                                                                                                                   (10-12 nuts)
30 LESS calories
8 grams LESS fat


Brown-n-serve roll                      or                                        Crescent roll                                                                                                                             DOUBLE the fat




Turkey drumstick, wing              or                                        *Breast                                                                                                                                           LESS than half the fat


 * ¼ turkey gravy, 1 TBSP butter or                                     2 TBSP whipped cream
Only 30 calories per ¼ cup

½ cup stuffing                               or                                       * ½ cup mashed potatoes
63 calories MORE
4 grams MORE fat

For more nutritional information on your favorite foods, check out calorieking.com


USciences Wellness

Improving the minds & bodies of others… 

one individual at a time.






Colds, Flu & YOU

We all know we should wash, wash, wash our hands, but did you also know that a positive attitude and getting some sunshine may also protect and improve your immune system?  Karin Richards, director of exercise science and wellness management, has your November wellness tips to keep you cold-free:


  • The will to be healthy and see the good in life as well as vitamin D from the sun are very powerful immunity enhancers.


  •  A soothing massage will boost your mood and rid your body of unhealthy toxins (but do NOT get a massage when you begin to feel sick - doing so can actually bring on a cold in full force.)


  • When you start to feel drained with all of the holiday rush, try to get some more sleep and hydrate yourself with extra water. Cold air is drier, making it easier to become dehydrated. 


  •  Try the Neti Pot - a nasal rinse with salt water that will flush irritants. The Neti Pot will keep colds at a minimum and may shorten the duration and severity of any current colds.
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