Barry starts Exercise for All Initiative

Salina Bowe photo: Barry started this initiative to get students physically active.Salina Bowe photo: Barry started this initiative to get students physically active.

Exercise is known to be an important part of staying fit and healthy; however, some people do not have the time to exercise.

If you’re one of those who can’t find the time to exercise, or are simply not motivated enough, you are in luck. A new movement, called the Exercise for All Initiative, is going into effect at Mercyhurst.

The initiative was started by sophomore exercise science major Kevin Barry. Barry started this initiative for his Principles of Health Promotion class taught by Professor Tim Harvey.
Barry started the initiative because he felt that the campus does not promote good health very well to students who are not considered athletes.

“Non-athletes do not have regularly scheduled exercise routines, and generally are not as educated when it comes to physical activity and health,” said Barry. “The time has come to stop neglecting non-athletes, and begin the education and implementation of physical activity and its accompanying benefits.”

The overall goal of this initiative is to get non-athletic students to increase their physical activity levels. Barry says that students should be meeting guidelines for physical activity. These guidelines include 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise a week and 60 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.

According to Barry, research has shown that increased physical activity can decrease the likelihood of diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Increased activity will also reduce one’s blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol, while increasing one’s HDL (good) cholesterol, all of which are important components of health.

There are two parts to the Exercise for All Initiative.

The first part, which lasts for one week is all about educating participating students about physical activity. The two week second part is about the students using what they learned and increasing their exercise and physical activity.

Barry hopes the initiative will get students out of what is called the pre-contemplation stage, which is where someone does not exercise at all and does not plan to. He hopes to bring them into another stage called the contemplation stage and then finally the action stage.

The contemplation stage is where students now have knowledge and a background in the benefits that physical activity may bring, and may decide that these benefits will be conductive towards their health.

The action stage is where students begin a regular exercise schedule to achieve its benefits.

Barry says that exercise tips will be given in small brochures. These brochures will be given out in places such as the Carolyn Herrmann Student Union and Egan Dining Hall.

Barry believes that classes such as yoga, spinning, body sculpt and pilates need to be advertised better around campus.

“Few signs can be found around campus in regards to these classes, yet most of the advertising for these classes is in the gym itself, where the student is already active,” Barry said.

Students do not directly sign up for the Exercise for All Initiative. It is done this way so students can try everything risk free and without future obligations.

Barry encourages faculty and staff to raise their physical activity as well, but it is specifically modeled for students.

“The adolescent years are where most people form habits, whether positive or negative,” said Barry. “If exercise can be introduced during these years as a habit, it will enhance one’s overall health throughout their lifetime.”

For more information about the Exercise for All Initiative, please contact Kevin Barry at