Focus on Fitness: Vitality U promotes overall health, wellness

Hello all you 20-somethings out there! Yes, you!  Give me one reason why we shouldn’t be living the best we can? At our age, why shouldn’t we make sure, that this prime physical condition should be utilized to the best of our ability?

Vitality U just might have the answers we’re looking for.


Vitality U is a student-powered programming board that aims to promote overall health and wellness among the University of Miami community.  Established in the spring of 2012 by recent UM graduate Sam Flanagan, Vitality U became the first student-driven programming division of the UM Herbert Wellness Center.

The initiative is based on the research of Dan Buettner and a team of National Geographic scientists as part of the Blue Zones project, a study that examined regions of the world with the highest numbers of people who live to or beyond 100 years.  Research findings suggested that truly healthy living depends on a person’s community and surroundings, in addition to diet and exercise.

Vitality U, comprised of about 35 active members and an executive board of 11 leaders, aims to bring Buettner’s “Blue Zone” theories to the UM community.

“We strive to get students excited and passionate about their overall well-being, including physical, emotional, occupational, nutritional, and community well-being, by making the healthiest choice the easiest choice on campus,” said Vitality U co-chair Julie Martinez, 21, an economics major from Holliston, Mass.  “We hope to provide students with all the resources they need to make this ‘Blue Zones’ lifestyle possible.”

Subdivided into five well-being committees, physical, nutritional, emotional, community and occupational, Vitality U sponsors events and programs in each category of overall healthy living.

This semester, Vitality U will continue their “New Year, New You” educational weight lifting series especially for women.  In the nutritional realm, the organization will continue to offer Whole Foods study breaks, and a pick-up location for Farm Fresh Miami, the campus produce buying club.

Spring 2013 brings plans for a meditation seminar series, 5k races, and community partnership on a variety of nutritional presentations in local schools.

“I hope for Vitality U to eventually become the voice for students on all topics related to health and wellness,” said co-chair Leela Mundra, 20, an international studies, anthropology and pre-medical student from Vancouver, Canada.  “Vitality U has the potential to become a strong force on campus, as Category 5 has become.”

In short, Vitality U aims to make living healthy easy and accessible for all students.  Vitality U compiles the education and resources available to UM students to promote a well-balanced lifestyle.

“We as a society have an impending health care crisis on our hands, and it’s our generation that’s about to inherit an issue that has never been faced by our nation throughout its existence. People may not realize it, but there are tectonic shifts occurring right beneath our feet regarding demographics and how health care will be delivered,” said Community Wellbeing chair Blake Hampton, 21, a neurobiology major from Boca Raton, Fla.  “Vitality U symbolizes a number of aspects that will be integral to tackling the health care crisis: self-responsibility, preventative education, community outreach, and a holistic approach to wellbeing are just some of those aspects.”

Still not convinced that Vitality U is worth checking out?

“If you’re human, then health affects you and everyone you know and love. Health is not something that can be ignored. Disregarding your body only leads to your body disregarding you when it’s too late,” said Hampton.

For more information on Vitality U, visit their website and Facebook page

Catch up with you soon Canes! 

Kristen Spillane is a junior journalism and Spanish double major hailing from Boston, Mass. She’s out to make the most of all Miami has to offer and can’t resist a good adrenaline rush or the feeling of being completely and utterly spent after a workout. Blogging for her fellow Canes that are always on the go.

Focus on Fitness is a blog about discovering the plethora of physical activities and outdoor opportunities of the South Florida community and beyond.  Can’t sit still and looking for a refreshing way to use that positive energy? Keep up with “Focus on Fitness” … if you can.