Rebecca Salus Scritchfield, '99, Works Out Wellness for Opening Convocation
By Jake Weber; photos by Dave Lawrence
Rebecca Salus Scritchfield, '99, connected a new generation of students with expertise she began gaining during her own campus days. A health and fitness expert with advanced degrees in nutrition and communications, Scritchfield returned to Albion to deliver the 2011 William K. Stoffer Lecture. She made her often humorous, student-centered presentation during the College's Opening Convocation, focused on Albion's Year of Wellness.
Stressing the ultimate benefits of a healthy lifestyle, Scritchfield had different sections of the audience sit and stand to graphically demonstrate the percentage of Americans who will suffer and die from chronic preventable disease. "The good news is that you don't have to be a statistic," she encouraged. "But you've got to do what it takes to live healthy and you have to start now."
Scritchfield asked the Goodrich Chapel audience to heed three words: Put yourself first. "It's your job to make sure you give your body what it needs. There are always going to be distractions," she said, recalling her own Albion days with studying, jobs, and clubs. "If you agree to a me-first approach, you'll have the energy and vitality to attack your goals and accomplish anything you want. You just have to believe you're important enough to take the time to do these things."
Starting with food, Scritchfield gave simple, important tips: Eat unprocessed foods; make sure meals are roughly one-third vegetables and fruit. And "every single person in this room is going to have breakfast; it's not an option," she said. "I had to run to an 8 a.m. class and I know it's difficult. But you need it, so figure out how you're going to do it."
Likewise, Scritchfield noted that daily physical activity is a must. "I use the word 'movement' because exercise reminds me of the dreaded treadmill," she quipped. Scritchfield noted that movement improves a number of physical, mental and emotional states, from increasing alertness to decreasing the risk of chronic disease. "Exercise even makes your brain bigger," she said, "and you're going to need a big brain to get through Albion and do all the things you want to do."
Scritchfield also noted the importance of sleep to college students and concluded with an encouragement to action. "You are so lucky you have a whole year devoted to wellness," she told the audience. "I want you to get involved so you can learn more, to develop healthy habits, and have the life you really want."
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