Want to get fit and stay fit? Arlington, Va., may be the city for you: For the fifth year in a row, it has been named the fittest city in America.
A program run through our Exercise Prescription class for senior-level students, Saxon Fit provides an experiential learning opportunity, fusing classroom concepts with hands-on, independent application. Senior-level students work with Alfred University faculty and staff members to achieve individual physical fitness and wellness goals through individualized personal training.
Students meet with their clients to obtain baseline information before developing a vetted program that runs for several weeks before conducting post testing to determine effectiveness and improvement. This program has already generated immense interest and students leave with a sense of accomplishment and understanding of how to apply classroom information.
As a community service and health/wellness promotional ideal, students in Health Promotion Program Design create weekly "Health and Wellness Tips" which are shared with the campus community via the University's internal daily electronic newsletter, Alfred today.
The task allows students to provide sound information about all things health and wellness. The students also learn how to reach broad populations while making information visually desirable and easy to access.
Each Fall semester, students enrolled in the Health Fitness Management Field Experience course (HFMT 305) are tasked with earning observation hours with industry professionals and assisting in aspects pertaining to the daily operation of the profession.
The 2020 cohort paired with the Hornell YMCA again in the Fall of 2018. They put together a proper warm-up and stretching routine with a skills competition for ages that included a teaching module, a reinforcement and skills practice and, finally, a competition in that skill. A variety of skills, such as passing (football), shooting (soccer and basketball), hand-eye coordination, along with stretching and recovery were put to the test in a "free-range" atmosphere.
The community activity was paired with the existing program "Parents Night Out" to increase attendance and sports exposure. Overall, it was a great event and kept the students active and engaged while allowing for free play after the initial program. Our students were able to gain valuable experience in community pairing and small/large group child/adolescent coaching.
The 2019 cohort worked with the Hornell YMCA on program development in hopes of engaging current patrons and enticing current non-members to consider the importance of physical activity in their daily lives.
Their program, Age Avengers, brought together multiple generations from caregivers to children, to promote the joy and importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyles. Through initial development to meetings with YMCA staff, the students created and conducted the program on November 10th, with the hope that the Hornell YMCA will continue this program on a monthly basis.
Of the 122 facilities surveyed, 65 facilities (53%) responded. These included a cumulative membership of > 110,000 persons. Of all responders, 40 responders (64%) had > 500 members and 43 facilities (70%) exceeded 5,000 square feet in size. Most responses came from public fitness centers (n = 57; 88%), whereas only eight respondents (12%) were community exercise centers; none were work site facilities. More than half of the centers (52%) offered special exercise programs for the elderly, members with heart disease, or both.
At a majority of the facilities (53%), < 50% of fitness staff held a bachelor's degree in exercise science or a related field, while in 12% of facilities, none held such a degree. One third of the clubs (32%) failed to certify their fitness and group exercise instructors in basic life support, as recommended by AHA/ACSM.
More than 25% of the clubs (n = 18; 28%) did no pre-entry screening to "identify users/members with heart-related medical conditions." Of the 47 centers that conducted screening, either routinely or on occasion, 12 centers (25%) screened < 50% of their new members (Fig 1).
. Frequency of using a preparticipation health history questionnaire to identify clients/ members with heart disease (n= 65).
A cardiovascular medical emergency, described as "a sudden cardiac arrest or heart attack," was reported to have occurred at 11 of the surveyed facilities (17%) in the past 5 years. An AED was reported to be on-site at only two clubs (3%), while three clubs (5%) planned on purchasing the device within 1 year. Despite experiencing an apparently high incidence of reported cardiovascular events, the recommendation from the AHA/ACSM to have a written emergency response plan was followed by < 50% of the facilities (n = 31; 48%). The AHA/ ACSM recommendation to practice at least quarterly emergency drills was rarely followed, with 91% of all clubs deficient on that standard, while 72% either never practiced or had no plan (Fig 2). Low compliance with other aspects of the AHA/ACSM emergency procedure recommendations are shown in Table 1 (eg, posting emergency telephone numbers, utilizing outside medical and paramedical personnel to develop or evaluate the emergency plan, and record keeping of emergency drills or related medical emergency events). Paradoxically, a majority of clubs (n = 62; 95%) rated having an appropriate emergency response plan at their facility as "extremely-to-very" important.
. Frequency per year of emergency response procedures reviewed or practiced at fitness centers (n = 65).
The percentage of facilities that were aware of the published AHA/ACSM health/fitness facility recommendations for cardiovascular screening and emergency procedures was disappointingly low, with only 12 facilities (18%) familiar with this publication (Fig 3). When comparing compliance with selected questions on preparticipation screening or emergency procedures from this survey to similar questions from a previous survey in Massachusetts (Fig 4), both surveys revealed a disparity between recommendations and practices for risk management in heath clubs. No changes were noted from the most exact survey results that might suggest responsiveness the contemporary AHA/ACSM recommendations cited in this study.
. Percentage of facilities aware of AHA/ACSM health/ fitness facility standards or recommendations.
. Cardiovascular screening and emergency procedures at health/fitness facilities from a survey of 122 clubs in Massachusetts in 1996 13 vs 65 clubs in Ohio in 2000.
Join us for an intensive week long workshop. Our revised curriculum engages students to learn hands-on screening techniques, fitness assessments, and exercise prescriptions with personal attention from the instructors. With small classes and a high instructor/student ratio you will acquire the knowledge, practice the skills and develop the abilities to become an excellent personal trainer. Interactive breakout sessions will provide you with the specific training required for nationally accredited certification through providers such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Our dynamic instructors will work directly with you sharing both the wisdom of their years of experience and their cutting edge perspective on the latest developments in the fitness industry.
Arlington has ranked No. 1 on the American Fitness Index for a record fifth year in a row.
The county topped the list, published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Elevance Health Foundation, after placing first in the nation in six separate fitness and health categories. The new rankings were announced this morning.
“Arlington, Virginia, earned its No. 1 designation for the fifth time, a Fitness Index record, by ranking first in six indicators and scoring among the top 10 cities in 19 of the 34 categories,” ACSM said in a press release. “Arlington was ranked No. 1 in both the personal health and community/environment sub-scores.”
The categories for which Arlington received top marks, out of the 100 U.S. localities indexed by ACSM, are below.
Arlington’s overall rank was 85, compared to an average of 51.7, while the county’s personal health rank was 86.8, compared to an average of 50.5.
There was good news for a nation in as a whole in this year’s rankings, with ACSM reporting an “increase in the percentage of Americans exercising in the previous month (77.6%); sleeping 7+ hours/day (68%); and reporting excellent/very good health (55.9%), since last year’s Fitness Index.”
An excerpt from this morning’s press release is below.
Arlington, Virginia, has been named “America’s Fittest City” in the annual American Fitness Index® rankings published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Elevance Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Elevance Health.
The ACSM / Elevance Fitness Index evaluated America’s 100 largest cities using 34 evidence-based indicators. Rounding out the top 10 fittest cities are Madison, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Washington, D.C.; Seattle, Washington; Irvine, California; Portland, Oregon; St. Paul, Minnesota; Denver, Colorado; and Chicago, Illinois (first time in the top 10). Full rankings and scores, a summary report, city comparison tool and other insights are accessible on the Fitness Index website.
“Congratulations to those city leaders and planners who led efforts to develop parks and playgrounds, build bike paths and safe streets, and offer a built environment that encourages physical activity,” said Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., chief health officer of Elevance Health. “As we entered another year of the pandemic, health disparities in our communities continued to be an issue, which only encourages us to tackle health equity head on. We were also faced with another year of loss, sickness, and isolation, resulting in the need for improved mental health. As we start to return to our previous routines, we need to underscore the significant mental and physical health benefits exercise in our lives.”
Now in its 15th year, the Fitness Index offers city leaders valuable research to make potentially life-changing decisions in policy, systems and environmental change strategies that drive fitness and health improvements in their communities.
As mental health concerns grow rapidly across the nation, this year’s Fitness Index provides statistical evidence regarding the problem’s scope. On average, 39.6% of residents in the Fitness Index cities reported poor mental health. Nearly 58% of adults in the U.S. perceive a pandemic-related negative effect on emotional or mental health. Cities reporting the highest rates of poor mental health (listed from highest to lowest) include New Orleans, Louisiana; Laredo, Texas; San Francisco, California; Washington, D.C.; San Jose, California; Madison, Wisconsin; Lubbock, Texas; Stockton, California; Riverside, California; and Cincinnati, Ohio.
There is good news. Research has shown physical activity – both aerobic and strength training – to be effective in preventing and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, improving mood and self-esteem, and improving quality of sleep.
ACSM issued a statement in August 2021 and is offering resources on the benefits of physical activity for those with mental health issues
“The Fitness Index Advisory Board hypothesized that poor mental health issues might be a significant factor because the pandemic disrupted every phase of our lives, some more than others,” said Stella Volpe, Ph.D., R.D.N., ACSM-CEP, FACSM, chair of the American Fitness Index Advisory Board. “Our decision to hone in on this important factor was accurate. We found that cities ranked in the top 25 tended to score well in personal health indicators; however, there was one exception – mental health. Four cities in the top 25 also ranked among the cities with the poorest mental health.”
ACSM and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, about 22 minutes per day. They also recommend muscle strengthening activity twice a week. Volpe said 22.4% of adults in the Fitness Index cities reported no exercise in the previous month, and only 50.9% met the aerobic activity guidelines, while an even smaller percentage (23.8) met the guidelines for both aerobic and strength activities.
“Increases in physical activity are likely to help reduce the mental health burden,” said Volpe. “This underscores the need for local community leaders to step up and make bold spending choices, policy decisions, and infrastructure changes to increase opportunities for residents to be physically active and healthy. Local community actions that change personal behaviors also reduce obesity rates, incidence of chronic disease and stress. ACSM and the Elevance Health Foundation now implement year-round education and outreach activities around the Fitness Index results to help identify needs in each city and contribute to potential solutions.”
Want to get fit and stay fit? Arlington, Va., may be the city for you: For the fifth year in a row, it has been named the fittest city in America.
Meanwhile, the title of the least fit city goes to Oklahoma City, according to the annual fitness rankings of America's 100 largest cities from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)/Elevance Health Foundation's American Fitness Index.
This year, the Index included 34 indicators of personal and community health (think exercise, sleep, chronic disease, parks, playgrounds, bike paths, safe streets and more), with an emphasis on how physical activity affects mental health due to widespread reports that the ongoing pandemic took a toll on mental health.
"Arlington, Va., was ranked as the fittest city, with a score of 85 out of a possible 100," said Amanda Paluch, a physical activity epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a member of the American Fitness Index Advisory Board. By contrast, Oklahoma City's score was 20.1.
"Arlington had the highest proportion of residents exercising in the previous month and the lowest rates of high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes," Paluch explained, and it also has lots of parks and recreational facilities.
In contrast, "Oklahoma City ranks among the lowest in these indicators, with higher rates of chronic disease and less availability of community parks and recreation that can support active living," Paluch said.
The top five fittest cities in America are:
The five least fit cities are:
99. North Las Vegas, Nev.
Wondering where your city ranks? Check here.
When it comes to mental health, things were bleak: Close to 40% of residents in all of the 100 Fitness Index cities reported poor mental health. Cities reporting the highest rates of poor mental health included New Orleans; Laredo, Texas; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; San Jose, Calif.; Madison, Wis.; Lubbock, Texas; Stockton, Calif.; Riverside, Calif.; and Cincinnati.
Poor mental health and lack of physical activity often travel together, fitness experts noted.
“Mental health issues can contribute to chronic disease and sedentary lifestyles," said Stella Volpe. She is a nutritionist and exercise physiologist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., and chair of the American Fitness Index Advisory Board. “Fortunately, physical activity, even in small amounts, can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and Strengthen mood and self-esteem."
The good news is the ratings aren’t set in stone and provide a road map for cities looking to get fitter. For example, Tampa, Fla., has jumped from 57 to 25 in the rankings, thanks to increases in exercise, sleep and the number of folks reporting excellent/very good health and lower rates of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
More good news: There was an increase in the percentage of Americans exercising in the previous month, sleeping 7+ hours/day, and reporting excellent or very good health, compared to last year’s Fitness Index.
Cities can Strengthen their rankings on the Fitness Index in multiple ways, Paluch noted.
"One way could be … increasing the number and access to parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities or taking the steps to make your city more pedestrian-friendly for both walking and biking," she said.
Healthy living must be the easy choice, Paluch said. "Clean air to breathe while outside; safe and accessible walking paths and sidewalks; playgrounds within walking distance from families' homes, are examples of ways cities can support healthy living," she added.
But don't expect these changes to happen overnight. “Although slow, it will lead to improvements in your residents’ health, quality of life and overall vitality of your city,” Paluch said.
Expect other dividends, she said. Fit cities create stronger community ties and Strengthen the quality of life of the residents.
“Cities that are well-designed to promote physical activity have economic benefits as well, such as increased home values, business and job growth, and an influx of new residents," she said. "It also can reduce health care costs, where every $1 invested in building trails for walking and biking saves nearly $3 in health care costs."
The Elevance Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of insurance company Elevance Health, helped fund the new report. The Fitness Index has expanded from 50 to 100 cities, so comparisons to the first 10 years aren't feasible. Residents and city leaders can compare their city’s indicators from 2018 to 2022, but not the overall rank or score.
Find out how your city compares to Arlington, Va., or other cities.
SOURCES: Amanda Paluch, PhD, physical activity epidemiologist, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and member, executive committee, American Fitness Index Advisory Board; Stella Volpe, PhD, RDN, nutritionist, exercise physiologist, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va., chair, American Fitness Index Advisory Board, ACSM/Anthem Foundation American Fitness Index, July 12, 2022
An exercise science degree that scientifically addresses issues of health and fitness by focusing on how people can recover from the unhealthy effects of chronic lifestyle diseases and on training athletes to extend and expand their performance.
The exercise science program has set the following student goals and learning outcomes: integrate scientific information and research into practice, develop communication skills and professional behaviors for entry into pre-professional practice, develop and deliver information and clinical customer services, demonstrate foundational knowledge of core sciences, and prepare students for successful completion of National Fitness Certification Exams.
Students have access to the NEEDs Lab and the Fitness Lab. The NEEDs Lab is a space that allows students and faculty to approach nutrition education as a design and engineering problem, identifying/mobilizing expert researchers and practitioners in evaluation, statistical analyses, education, nutritional sciences, and health promotion. The Fitness Lab houses state-of-the-art equipment utilized by exercise science students to gain hands-on experience conducting fitness assessments and testing.
Personal Trainer; Strength and Conditioning Coach; Fitness Specialist; Doctorate in Physical Therapy; Doctor of Chiropractic
Total percentage of graduates who have entered the workforce, enrolled in full-time graduate study, or are pursuing alternative plans (military service, volunteering, etc.).
*Total percentage of graduates for whom RIT has verifiable data, compared to national average knowledge rate of 41% per NACE.
|Outcome||% of Students|
|Full-time Graduate Study||100.00%|
Cooperative education and internships are work experience in your field of study. And they set RIT graduates apart from their competitors. It’s exposure–early and often–to a variety of professional work environments, career paths, and industries. Cooperative education and internships are designed for your success.
Cooperative education and internships are optional but strongly encouraged for students in the exercise science major.
Dr. Perry is a Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and a Certified Manual Therapist through the University of St. Augustine. Dr. Perry has over 25 years of clinical experience and specializes in manual therapy and evidence-based practice. He is passionate about teaching students critical thinking skills and evidence-based practice. Currently he is the owner of Perry Physical Therapy Solutions, focusing on high quality one-on-one care. Dr. Perry is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT).
Perry, T. (2021) Treatment of thoracic spine pain and pseudovisceral symptoms with dry needling and manual therapy in a 78-year-old female: A case report, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, DOI: 10.1080/09593985.2021.1987603
Perry, T. (Ed.) (2021). Exercise Prescription for Healthy Populations with Special Considerations: Low back pain. In American College of Sports Medicine’s Resource Manual for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Fountaine, C., & Perry, T. (2017). Core Training: Separating Fact From Fiction. ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal, 21(2), 4-6.