What is Health Promotion?

I’ve been talking about Graduation for what seems like months now. What I hardly talk about, however, is what I’m actually graduating in.

I bet if I polled all my readers right this second, only my Mother would know. My own Father even forgets half the time (Hi Dad!) lol. So I thought with graduation looming (can it be Saturday already?) this would be the perfect time to clear a few things up.

I’m getting my Master’s in Kinesiology and Health Promotion

what is Health Promotion

So what is Health Promotion anyway?

I’m glad you asked. This was actually one of my exit exam questions so I’ve got the perfect elevator pitch about it….it goes as follows:

Health Promotion is an all-encompassing approach to improving the health of individuals, groups, and communities through a variety of strategies including health education, policy change, advocating, collaboration, serving as a resource, improving environment, access to care, health literacy, and a number of others.

Sounds pretty good right? But that’s still kind of a confusing definition for some, so let me elaborate a bit more.

Health Promotion is about empowering individuals, groups, and communities to take control of their health and make healthy decisions and for healthy habits to improve all spheres of their wellness including physical, mental/intellectual, spiritual, social, environmental, and emotional wellness.

Let me give you a few guidelines as well. Healthy People 2020 is a science-based set of goals built around improving the health of the nation. It launched in 2010 with a decade long agenda for accomplishing just that. It’s mission is to create a “society in which all people live long, healthy lives.”

It’s four Overarching Goals include:

  • Attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death
  • Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups (race, gender, age, etc)
  • Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all
  • Promote quality of life, healthy development, and health behaviors across all life stages

Ok great. thanks for the mumbo-jumbo, we get it, make people healthy. But it goes to such a deeper level then just telling people to eat their vegetables and exercise more.

Health Promotion also takes into account cultural competence. We take cues from environmental and social structures and build a plan around them. For example, telling someone to go to a Framer’s Market for the food, when there’s none within walking distance and they have no access to a car is kinda pointless and doesn’t help them at all. You have to look at their resources available and work from there. That goes for any health behavior and in any setting.

I personally am more interested in stress management and how that manifests itself into self-care. Aka what nourishes their soul. My ideal job would incorporate personal training, health coaching, nutrition education, and stress management activities. Basically anything that improves self-care and I get to work with people is my dream job.

Where do Health Promotion Specialists work?

There’s many settings in which a Health Promotion Specialist might work. Short answer? Anywhere. Longer list of answers; a school, a University (where I am now), a business or corporation, a non-profit, a government agency, health clinics, hospitals, wellness centers, gyms, etc. Like I said, really anywhere.

My Dad works as an engineer and they have an outside vendor come in to do their Biometric Screenings and follow-up visits. I interned for a private consulting firm in Boston this past summer and their clients came from all the surrounding offices in the South End with Real Estate Firms being their biggest population.

Of course non-profit agencies make a huge chunk of who works in the community wellness sector. This was never really my interest so I won’t pretend to know much about it, other than this group includes Planned Parenthood and Government and State health clinics.


So there ya have it folks, the basic 411 on Health Promotion. Now it’s your turn to ask any questions below in the comments. Or you can always shoot me an email. I never shut-up about this stuff in real life 😀

Got any questions?


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15 Exercises to Counteract Sitting

Happy Veteran’s Day!  So thankful to all those who serve this country and a special shout-out to my late-grandfather who fought in WWII, what a special man 🙂

Like promised here is the information I taught in class last week.  15 Exercises to Counteract the Effects of Sitting. It’s long with no pictures so I apologize in advance for that. I did have pictures on the handout but thought I’d save some space here and take them out.  If an exercise doesn’t make sense either ask me or frankly Google it.  While I would LOVE to hear from you (so plz still ask away) it’s amazing what information you can find on Google these days, kinda scary actually. So without further ado…..


Side Effects of sitting:

  • Obesity – This shouldn’t come as any surprise that sitting all day instead of moving burns less calories and leads to weight gain. Studies have shown that prolonged periods of sitting can, over time, slow your metabolism.
  • Herniated Disk – Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your hips and spine and can lead to injuries over an extended period of time. Prolonged pressure on your spine can lead to a disc to slide out of place and eventually burst, which is extremely painful and requires medication, physical therapy, and in extreme cases surgery.
  • Poor posture – More than likely you don’t have perfect posture all the time when sitting. This leads to weakened muscles and tight joints which can lead to further injury.  It can also leave you feeling tired and cause low back and neck pain.
  • Knee Pain – Sitting with knees at 90 degrees puts increased pressure on the knee cap.  This in turn can lead to pain and swelling and can cause further pain in during other activities. Also having underdeveloped leg muscles makes the knees work harder for stability causing pain.
  • Muscle Weakness – It makes sense that moving less uses less muscle which leads to muscle atrophy.  The Gluteal muscles (or buttocks) are one of the largest muscle groups in the body and but severely underworked when sitting.  These muscles are used in really any body movement and are essential to avoiding back and hip pain.
  • Slowed Metabolism – When sitting, your body starts to “shut-down” on a metabolic level in order to save energy and be more efficient.  In the bodies attempt to conserve energy that we don’t need, it actually starts packing on the pounds.
  • Neck Problems – While working at a computer, many people either extend their necks slightly, or keep it bent at an angle depending on if they’re working on a computer of paper.  Over long periods of time this can harm the muscles and joints and lead to pain when not at work.
  • Back Aches and Pains – One of the hardest hit places in the body from sitting for long periods of time is the back.  From the increased pressure and lack of movement, the back can become very sore after a few hours and over time develop into more serious issues
  • -Deep Vein Thrombosis- Most usually hear about the dangers of blood clots in your legs when flying, but just as important when sitting anywhere – either at home or work.
  • -Increased Risk Heart Disease- Scary thought. Studies have shown that those who work-out for an hour a day and still sit all day are at the same risk of heart disease as those who sit all day and don’t work-out.
  • -Risk of Diabetes- Same as increasing risk of heart disease; sitting for long periods of time can also increase your risk of developing Diabetes up to 7%.  Sitting causes your blood flow to slow down which can result in increased blood sugar and insulin resistance.
  • -Raised Cholesterol- Sitting causes enzyme activity to decrease as much as 90%. Enzymes are what grab fat out of your cells in order to use it for energy. When left in the body, this circulating fat causes healthy cholesterol levels to drop by 20% after just a few hours of sitting.
  • -Increased Risk of Depression- As we’ve discussed, sitting reduces blood flow which can lead to depression and less blood flow means less feel-good hormones running through your system.
  • -Shorter Life Span- New studies are starting to show that those who sit for 6 hours a day are at increased risk of early death of all health related causes.  For those who exercise as well, the risk is 35% higher for women and 18% for men.  Unfortunately those who don’t exercise have an increased risk of 94% and 48% respectively.  Yikes!

Example Exercises:

  1. Standing side stretch
  2. Standing shoulder blade squeeze
  3. Standing hamstring/calf stretch
  4. Standing quadriceps (front of leg) stretch
  5. One leg stand with hip hike
  6. Standing hip flexor stretch (lunge)
  7. Bird-dog and cat-camel
  8. Knee to chest stretch
  9. Basic spinal twist
  10. Piriformis stretch
  11. Bridge (single-leg)
  12. Straight leg lifts (double legs/alternating kicks)
  13. Side leg lifts with bands
  14. Plank
  15. Side plank

Whew, that was really long but super important information that quite a few people need to know.  I hope this helps someone out there. Again if you have any questions please ask, and if you suffer from any of the more serious side-effects please, please, please consult your Dr. before attempting any of these exercises. While I am a Certified Personal Trainer, each individual case is different and this isn’t to serve as a blanket statement for everyone, simply helpful guidelines.

Have a wonderful week of (hopefully) not much sitting 😀


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Busy Life Check-in

Goodness, just when I think life couldn’t get any busier, I spend 3 hrs entering data into our work system…..true story.  So I haven’t been posting as often as I’d like, which has resulted in a loss of followers, oh well I guess?  Not much I can really do about it, so thank you to anyone and everyone who is sticking around and forgives me for my sporadic appearances 🙂

I also started my new job as Personal Trainer in the gym on campus.  As much as I love my graduate program I have missed training clients since moving here, so this is a good addition to my (already) busy life.  I honestly don’t know how other bloggers keep up with everything!!  I’ll keep doing my best though lol.

Anyway, tomorrow is finally Friday and I’ve got a nice long run planned for the morning.  It’ll be nice to get out and hit the pavement and resolve a lot of issues that have been banging around my head lately.  Relationships, group projects, work-office dynamics, and my social life are all up for grabs during the 8miles.  I tend to do my best thinking when running (to the dismay of my bad knee haha).

That;s the end to my brief check-in, I do have a few bigger posts being written and in the line-up.  For now I’ll leave you with a picture of my dinner, which was all made with my Farmer’s Market finds from last weekend.  Yummers 😀


What do you do when you fall behind on your blogging?


“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks…Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

-Michael Jordan

Doing My Part

They say service is the quickest way to get outside yourself right?  So today I donated blood.  After the week I’ve had I really needed to refocus, less on myself and more on others and what I can do in my community.  I of course got in my 4 miles this morning knowing I wouldn’t feel up to it later (and on a friday night no less), bringing my total so far for Sept up to 18, with my goal still being 70.

Then it was off to campus, which has become a second home to me.  Thank goodness I have an office I can retreat to to get work done in! (and yes that does make me feel like a Very Important Person lol)  Gave blood, and ate my peanut butter crackers like a good girl before I took off.  I actually took a picture of the needle in my arm but opted not to freak anyone out, you’re welcome 😀

I bleed blue, my sticker says so!

I bleed blue, my sticker says so!

Then I thought what else can I do to in my community?…..Um how about support local businesses?  Yup!  So I grabbed lunch at the BEST bagel shop in the world with a  friend.  One of the best parts of living in a college town is all the great little college eateries, small, cheap, unique, and most importantly delicious!  If I didn’t talk so much this sandwich would have been gone in .3 sec lol.


I started eating before I remembered to take a picture lol

After completing my civic duty for the day (read that with slight sarcasm, i realize  can do more) I spent the next 5 hrs in my office finishing up work, homework,  projects, and a good dose of medical journal reading.  When I deemed it a full day (aka I needed to stop or my brain would melt out of my head) I headed on home.  But not before I grabbed the gift-card for my Birthday Giveaway Winner!


Congratulations again Zaneta!!

What a  great choice right?  I of course had to pick the running lady, she’s untouchable after all haha.

Oh man TGIF big time!  This weekend is full of park time, library book reading, and farmer’s market!  Not to mention a mental break from school, I can’t wait!

Have any fun plans for the weekend?  Any races you’re running?  Tell me I wanna know!


“Train yourself to listen to that small voice that tells us what’s important and what’s not”

-Sue Grafton

Fitness Friday

Weight Loss Specialist

Wanna know what my free time has looked like the past few weeks?


Notice my TN pillow underneath the laptop 🙂

Fun right?  I’ve been studying to become a Weight Loss Specialist (WLS) through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), which is the same organization I became a CPT through.  Although lots of the concepts are very familiar to me and are things I’ve been learning for years, there are specific NASM stats, calculations, theories, etc that I need to know for the test, which by the way I took this weekend.


I was studying at work lol

I honestly don’t know if I’ve talked much about my career goals on here so I’ll lay down my outline right now!  I love my one on one training and the group classes I run, but long term (hence grad school) I’d like to be a Health Promotion Specialist (aka more of a life coach) that deals with physical and psychological aspects for an entire life change.  THEN, my dream job would be to work with overweight kids.

Now for the news I’m sure everyone wants to know….Did I pass?

Why YES I DID!!!!  YAY!  It’s official!  I can now sign my name

Kelsey CPT, WLS

Pretty fancy right?….And in 2 yrs I’ll have added an MS and possibly either a PES or CES.  So many letters goodness!

So it truly is a Marvelous Monday for me.  How’d y’alls weekends go?


“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

-Mother Teresa