Field House classes help students stay fit

By Clayton Norlen, Staff Writer

Staying fit, feeling good and releasing the stresses of school are some of the reasons students at the Field House said they exercise.

“We just want to get people moving, if we can do that it will help students with all the aspects of their life,” said Cheri Jenkins, associate director of Campus Recreation Services. “From stress to depression, exercise helps people find a good balance in their daily lives.”

To kick off the school year, the Field House has offered free classes this week. The free classes will end on Saturday.

Part of student fees covers the Field House so students can use it throughout the academic year.

Nicole Myers, a student in the physical therapy graduate program, said she goes to the Field House because it’s free and because she can recommend physical activities to people she works with in her field and not be hypocritical.

“I’m here Monday through Friday for my daily workout,” she said. “I try to exercise whenever my schedule lets me. It’s just great to do something for yourself that makes you feel good.”

Other students at the Field House said they exercise there to avoid becoming a part of America’s obesity epidemic.

“Obesity is a big problem in the U.S. and I don’t want to be a part of it,” said Rachel Anderson, a freshman in the pre-med LEAP program.

Anderson and her three friends were at the Field House for the second time this semester on Wednesday. Anderson said their goal is to avoid gaining the “freshman 15” by making Field House workouts a habit.

Factors such as work, school and social obligations prevent many people from incorporating physical activity into their daily lives. Yet Zan Gao, an exercise and sports science professor, believes physical activity is something for which students and staff should make accommodations.

“It is important that students become aware of the physical and mental benefits of physical activity,” he said. “Young adults should realize that it is critical they participate in physical activity to prevent some cancers, heart disease and type II diabetes.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity five days a week to maintain physical fitness. In addition, the CDC advises that two of those days incorporate some type of weight training activity to develop physical endurance.

As a way to help students and staff stay motivated and achieve an appropriate level of health, the Field House offers an assortment of classes such as yoga, Latin dancing and hip-hop kick boxing. Jenkins said classes run for 13 weeks with prices ranging between $35 and $60, depending on the frequency they are offered.

“Fitness classes encourage you to do things you wouldn’t on your own,” said Margaret Ford, a Field House instructor. “Instructors are able to help students with safety to reduce the chance of injury and the group setting puts an energy in the room that makes for a great workout.”

Through her hip-hop kick boxing course, Ford has a mix tape of accelerated beats playing to give students something to move with as she chants out the movements and steps for them to follow. Using a headset microphone, Ford checks in with the group, asking how everyone is and if she is “kicking their butts.”

“I take classes here all the time, and I like to sample them to see if I’d like to take a new one,” said Carolyn Hebert, executive administrative assistant for the vice president of Student Affairs. “And I like to exercise with the younger people too; they have a lot of energy and it’s infectious.”

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Class members follow prompts from Margaret Ford during a hip-hop kick boxing class Wednesday. The Field House offers a variety of classes to students and faculty.