The e-newsletter of Chestnut Hill College

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The e-newsletter of Chestnut Hill College

Griffins are Meant to be Heart-Healthy

Griffins are Meant to be Heart-Healthy

Chartwells serves healthy food options
Chartwells participated in Wellness Day by offering students the chance to try some healthy food options.
Marilee Gallagher '14

Griffins of legend are powerful and strong. How could it be otherwise for a creature that blends the head and wings of an eagle with the body, back legs and tail of a lion?

CHC Griffins are also powerful and strong, and several departments in the College are determined to ensure they stay that way.

The recent Wellness Day, sponsored by Student Life with participation and input from Student Activities, the Counseling Center, Health Center, Campus Ministry and Janice Kuklick, chair of the physical education department, was held to encourage students, faculty and staff to create a healthy body-mind-spirit balance in their lives.

Participants could complete self-assessments and self-reflections; take some time to de-stress through coloring or by making a stress ball; learn hands-only CPR; and take a plank challenge. The student club, the Pre-Healthcare Professional Society, did blood pressure screenings all day. Chartwells offered ideas for healthy dining options and Kuklick challenged folks to complete major physical endeavors such as (the equivalent of) swimming the English Channel or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro — from the comfort of campus.

Kuklick never misses a chance to spread her fitness message and encourages everyone to find ways to get active and build exercise into every day.

One of her initiatives is the streak. Not the kind of “streak” popular in the 1970s, where daredevils shed their clothing and ran around in public just for fun. This streak is a progressive exercise program, beginning with 10 days in February, then moving to 20 days in March and ending with a 30-day streak throughout the month of April.

plank challenge
Students, faculty and staff took part in a plank challenge where the goal was to perform the exercise for as long as possible.
Katie Davis, RN

The rules are simple: exercise for 10 to 30 minutes (walk, jog, practice yoga, jump rope, dance, swim, etc.) write it down and send the results to Kuklick. The time must be spent specifically on exercise.

“Miss a day? Just jump right back in,” she advises. “You might even like it so much and see such great results that you’ll continue the streak on your own.

“Just build a habit … this is a group that can offer support as well as hold you accountable,” she says. “Just commit to being healthy."

Help is on the Way

The CHC community will soon be able to log in to its own wellness website that will provide access to health and wellness tips and questions and answers.

The site, being built by Chelsea Farren, assistant to the vice president for student life, will include an “Ask a Griffin” section for visitors to ask campus experts specific questions and get knowledgeable answers.

“We already offer so much wellness information on campus. This site will simply provide a central resource to address wellness questions and concerns so members of the college community don’t have to search for it,” says Farren.

Tips on nutrition, exercise, the importance of getting enough sleep, relationship concerns, articles and videos and more will be available soon.

Janice's heart healthy challenge
Janice Kuklick displays some of her heart-healthy initiatives.
Brenda Lange

In the meantime, Kuklick recommends checking out YouTube for those exercise questions and great workouts.

“Nowadays, people don’t really have an excuse for not knowing how to work out. Beginners to advanced can find routines and ideas that will work for them right at their fingertips — and they’re free,” says Kuklick.

She suggests finding a channel that matches your time and fitness level, such as Fitness Blender, Yoga with Adriene or Popsugar Fitness. If you’re limited on time, try a HIIT workout. Kuklick says these high-intensity interval training programs are good because “you get your heart rate up, then do another exercise that isn’t cardiovascular (sit ups, pushups) but your heart rate is still elevated, so you’re getting more of a bang for your buck.

“Twenty minutes is really good for you. Seven minutes may be too short. Engage in an activity that will make your heart beat faster and get you out of breath,” she says.

She says that the American Heart Association recommendations for adults, call for 30 minutes a day, five times a week. Break up the half hour into two or three segments throughout the day if necessary, as long as you manage the 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise.

“This is how I look at it: The body was meant to move,” Kuklick adds.

Contact Kuklick with specific questions at