Blog: Teacher Feature: Laurie Runk, Professor & Department Chair, Health Sciences

This week's Teacher Feature, Laurie Runk, reminds us that nutrition starts in the kitchen and continues through their daily activities. Learn how she simultaneously exercises her passion for teaching and inspires Coastline students to achieve overall wellness.

Tell us about yourself.

Hello, my name is Laurie Runk. I am the Department Chair of Health Sciences and a professor at Coastline College. Growing up, I had a great passion for health and wellness, so much so it has led me to pursue a career in the field. I first received a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science from Ashland University and continued my higher education at Arizona State University, where I received a Master’s in Exercise and Wellness and Doctorate in Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Wellness.

Outside of work, my hobbies can be categorized as anything outdoors. I really like sailing, fly fishing, skiing – both water and snow, playing the piano and gardening. All of these are really great for stress relief.

What kicked started your career in health and nutrition?

I was born with a growing disorder that created a major challenge for managing my weight growing up.  It was a healthy diet and active lifestyle that helped me finally gain control of my weight in high school and college.  My personal struggle motivated me to want to help others achieve optimal wellness through healthy lifestyle choices.

What makes your classes fun and unique?

The best part about courses within the Health Sciences Department is the applicability to all students.  Helping people live longer, happier, and healthier lives is the primary focus of our curriculum.  Our department's faculty is constantly challenging students to complete health evaluations, design programs, and develop behavior change strategies in the class using the student themselves or someone they know as the patient/client.

Why should students take your class?

  • Benefits all students - Everyone can benefit from learning how to optimize their health.  The courses are all designed to have immediately relevant information/change for students. Whether it is to help people make positive behavior changes or to improve all aspects of dimensions of wellness, our classes are designed for all.
  • Convenient - Most of our classes are 100% online!
  • Wellness - Our department offers yoga every semester at the Newport Beach Campus and soon will be offering Tai Chi in the fall of 2019.
  • Transferable - All of our courses cover Area E of all degrees and certain certifications – Lifelong Learning

What do you love about teaching at Coastline?

Coastline has a unique way of reaching students regardless of their walk of life, career goals, or geographic location. This makes for an enriching online classroom experience for students and faculty alike.

Having taught in a more traditional format in the past, the innovative online opportunities at Coastline truly provides all students the ability to succeed in their educational endeavors without having to put the rest of life on hold.

Dr. Runk, Coastline College

Tell us something students may not know about you.

  • My husband and I were engaged at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
  • I have ran the original marathon course from the town of Marathon to Athens, Greece which finishes with a lap around the Panatheniac Stadium where they held the Olympics in 1896 – an unforgettable experience.
  • I’m a diehard Ohio State Buckeyes fan

Share your top 3 health tips for Coastline students!

1. Food choices is key!

Seek to eat foods in their most whole forms. Processing tends to rob foods of their best qualities. For example, eat what is in season. Food that is in season tends to be more affordable.

With the access of valuable technology on our phones nowadays, my favorite app to recommend is Fooducate. This app allows you to scan the food you’re eating, and it will provide a grade for the food based upon a number of different nutritional factors.  It’s a great way to learn what to look for in what you’re consuming! According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, even for people at a healthy weight, a poor diet is associated with major health risks that can cause illness and even death.

2. Move, move!

In a 24-hour period, 30 minutes of exercise cannot balance out 23½ hours of sitting. Make it a point to get up and move for at least a few minutes every hour. If you can, workout most days of the week but ultimately, consistent activity trumps exercise.

Moreover, if you like to work out with music, pick music based on your workout intensity. I recommend calming music for yoga and increase the intensity for more vigorous workouts. Personally, my favorite music to workout to is Latin music. I think it's the best against fatigue.

3. Practice mindfulness

Develop habits that build mindfulness. We have to be in tune with what our body needs to optimize our health. Additionally, self-awareness is important when valuing one's health. Identifying stressors and taking a regular inventory of how you feel is essential in order for you to choose a plan of action to optimize your health.

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