Dr. Neil Peterson is excited to continue working toward a healthier BYU community.
By Corbin Smith
Click the link to see what Dr. Peterson and his team did last year to achieve the bronze level campus recognition!
For some, it may be easy to believe that BYU’s only focus is the spiritual well-being of our community. Assistant professor Dr. Neil Peterson is dedicated to showing that BYU is also very committed to the physical well-being of the campus.
In 2017, BYU was awarded a bronze level campus recognition from the American College of Sports Medicine after the success of the Pokéthon 3K run/walk event Dr. Peterson spearheaded in October 2016. This year, thanks to the hard work of Dr. Peterson and many others, BYU was recognized again, receiving a silver level campus recognition.
The Exercise is Medicine On-Campus program is unique in that they require a university to do different things to receive the various levels of recognition. For example, a bronze recognition requires a campus to have an event to raise awareness for physical health, like BYU did with the Pokéthon run/walk. To reach a silver level recognition, the university must implement a program to educate its community on the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. BYU was one of the 56 universities in the nation to receive the silver recognition in 2019.
To educate the community on physical health, BYU started with its students. In the undergraduate program, Associate teaching professor Gaye Ray instructs her students about the importance of physical activity as well as how to measure it in their patients during her physical assessment class. Dr. Peterson also teaches this on the graduate level. All is in an effort to prepare students to help future patients improve exercise and health habits.
Dr. Peterson and his team had another successful event in October 2018: The Super Hero Fun Walk. Photo courtesy of Peterson.
The BYU Wellness Program has also done a lot to help BYU receive a silver level recognition this year. “BYU wellness has monthly wellness talks and activities. They provide resources to the community for people to participate and teach everyone how to be active in their lives,” says Dr. Peterson. Visit wellness.byu.edu to check out some of their resources and find info for later events!
In the future, Dr. Peterson has plans to work with the Student Heath Center on campus to work toward the gold level recognition, the level received when a system to measure physical activity is put into place.
It is not hard turn those bad habits into healthy ones. “We just have to do these little things to make our lives a little bit better,” says Peterson.
Below are five of those simple tips that Dr. Peterson recommends for healthier living!
5 Pro Tips to a Healthier Lifestyle at Work
- Take Short, Mental Breaks Each Hour.
To be able to maximize your ability to focus, you need to give your brain some time to rest. You work hard and you have people to help, but taking 3-5 minutes to relax and give yourself a short break will make a huge difference in your productivity.
- Take the Stairs!
To live a healthier lifestyle, it is important that you get your heart rate up occasionally. Taking the stairs is the perfect way to get your heart pumping and your body moving. You’ll feel better and be getting a little bit of exercise in!
- Get a Workout App
Need a constant reminder to get active? Downloading an app that suggests short workouts is the answer. Some apps even help you monitor your diet and set health goals. Dr. Peterson uses “Streaks Workouts” to keep not just himself but also his students to stay active during class!
- Go Outside Every Few Hours
Being inside all day can take a toll on your eyes. “When you go outside your eyes can focus on something in the distance, like the mountains. That allows for your eye muscles relax and go straight,” says Peterson. Get headaches frequently? This could be your solution!
- Do Some Work Standing Up
Not only can working standing up help reduce back pain, but you also burn an average of 1000 more calories a week by standing instead of sitting! Even if you can’t get a standing desk, standing up every once in a while will still make a positive impact on your health.