Wellness Center offers more exercise classes

Students have more variety in exercise instruction this semester since the Health and Wellness Center added more classes and teachers. Officials said they are accommodating a growing interest in fitness classes.

Andre Julien, assistant athletic director of Health and Wellness and Recreation Programs, said about 550 to 600 people bought passes last semester, about 150 more than three years ago. As of last week, 250 people purchased passes for this semester, and officials said they expect that an equal or higher number of students will purchase them this semester.

Julien said crowds in the classes have been thinning out since the beginning of the semester, despite an initial increase in the number of students.

“There are always complaints,” he said. “But with time, I think there are fewer and fewer.”

The facility is offering two new types of yoga and hired five additional instructors this semester.

Students can take classes including cardio kick-boxing, cycling, mat pilates, step and sculpt, and various types of yoga.

Students can purchase a semester pass for $65, which allows unlimited access to all classes. A Mind and Body pass for $50 gives entrance to all yoga, pilates and tai chi classes. If a student purchases either pass halfway through the semester, the price drops by 50 percent.

Officials said the mind and body classes are the most popular and that the start of the semester is the busiest time of term. Students also recently started having to sign up for cardio machines in some areas of the facility because of long wait times.

“At the beginning of each semester, we’re inundated, and then in a couple of weeks it thins out,” Julien said. “Most people that start a fitness program don’t continue.”

Jeannie Williams, assistant recreation sports director, said the classes increased in popularity this year because students are more aware of them, and because the quality of the classes and instructors improved.

The classes’ 38 instructors train with Williams before teaching. Although a college education is not necessary, instructors must be certified in their particular field. Williams teaches a four-credit, semester-long instructor training class.

“This is a convenient way for a lot of students to become certified,” Williams said.

She said she evaluates instructors by having them teach classes to her.

“Overall, our patrons are very happy with the instructors,” Williams said.

Capacity for the classes, which are held in the multipurpose room on the second floor, is 60. For classes with fewer attendees, the room is sometimes split up into two classes with 30 people.

Several students said they were pleased with the increased variety and number of classes this year, and that overcrowding has not been a large problem.

Last semester, sophomore Katie Wilmes said she attended classes in cardio funk, cardiokickboxing, pilates, toga, step, step and sculpt and capoeira, which is a class combining martial arts with African, Latin and Caribbean dance, last semester. She said she will buy another pass this semester.

“These classes are a great way to try out a new activity in a fun, low-key environment where nobody makes you come to class,” she said.

“We have a great instructor and it wasn’t bad at all; there was actually tons of room,” said sophomore Michal Meiler, who attends a Kripalu Yoga class, which focuses on meditation, inner awareness and breath.

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