Kelley Vargo, MS, MPH
What does 2010 and COVID-19 have in common?
It’s Spring of 2020 and COVID-19 has not only taken the US healthcare system by storm but it has corporate gyms, fitness studios, academic physical activity classes, as well as academic classes.
Rewind 10 years ago, back to Spring of 2010. I was helping my dad at his private family practice in Johnstown. I remember taking note of how overweight the children were and how many adults had obesity. I would take my dad’s prescription pad and write out “my prescription” with doses of walks, eating apples, meditating, and spending time with kids. We made a pact, maybe we were kidding, but I think I might take him on that pact J. He said to me, “Kelley, when you find the magic pill for behavior change, we will go into business together.”
Little did I know then, that spring day that I would move to the District of Columbia later that year to pursue a master in Exercise Science followed by a master of Public Health in Communication and Marketing. In the fall of 2014, I was hired by the Milken Instituted School of Public Health as an online academic advisor and practicum coordinator for the new online public health program.
At the time, I had no idea how valuable this opportunity was. I saw it as an opportunity to apply my Behavior Change Certification with the American Council on Exercise in a structured setting but was still a little bummed not sure how and if I could bring in my enthusiasm, education, and experience with exercise and physical activity.
Before I knew it I was designing undergraduate academic courses in fitness and wellness and leading faculty and staff workouts at lunchtime. I was able to strike a balance between spending my time online on webcam and in person leading workouts, speaking on wellness, and designing wellness programs.
So now we are back to today, the first day of Spring 2020 and I can’t help but think God, the Universe, Mother Nature, or whoever you believe in, had a distinct hand in this.
Last night, I spent a few hours on the phone teaching my dad how to use an online video platform as he is launching telemedicine for his patients. And within that same discussion, he asked me when I was going to start getting exercises online so that his patients have access to information on exercise and physical activity.
I felt like I just experienced my own version of the circle of life from helping my dad out in his office 10 years ago to teaching him an innovative way to practice medicine yesterday.
So it might not be the “magic pill for behavior change” but I think we are onto something. And even though we cannot control the outbreak of a communicable virus we can control our physical activity, our nutrition, our exercise and our risk of developing obesity and diabetes.
I hope you will join me and the world by moving more starting today. COVID-19 might have us practicing social distance but it can also have us practicing optimal health behaviors.
Join our online community, follow us on Instagram, and stay up to date with events on our website where we will have live workouts, interviews, and connection. So what does 2010 and COVID-19 have an in common? An opportunity to make a difference, an opportunity to take ownership over our health and our future, and opportunity to learn and become a healthier and happier version of ourselves.
Socially distant, virtually close in health and love,
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