Programs offered to keep students fit, healthy

When students transition from high school to college, it can be a struggle to find time to exercise and maintain a healthy diet.

Studies have shown that the freshman 15 is a problem amongst first-year college students because freshmen are still used to their parents’ home-cooked meals. However, Sally Wright, director of recreational sports and services, said there are a number of opportunities the Recreation Center has to offer students to avoid putting on the extra pounds.

Wright said the Recreation Center offers several fitness classes, but the one that might be right for the student depends on what he or she wants to improve or maintain.

She said students can participate in traditional aerobics classes, cycling classes and fitness classes both in the pool and on the court. Students can also take classes in strength and conditioning beginning Aug. 20, she said.

If students are interested in skill development, the Recreation Center offers boxing and yoga classes. However, Wright said some of those courses might require additional fees.

She said students can work with personal trainers to come up with a workout schedule that fits well for both the student and the trainer. There is a preview week beginning Aug. 20 where students will have the opportunity to see which programs they might like try out and get involved in.

In addition to the different agility workouts the Recreation Center provides, Wright said students can get involved with intramural sports such as flag football, basketball, baseball, dodgeball and martial arts.

Students can participate in any of these clubs in the morning, afternoon or night with flexible hours throughout the day. The Recreation Center is already included in the student fees, so students are encouraged to get involved and stay active, Wright said.

The best way for students to find time to exercise throughout the day is to look at their schedules, and see what free time is available to them, said Daniel Wilczak, an SIUC alumnus.

“A workout partner has helped me stay motivated to go to the gym,” he said.

One major health change students may notice is in their diet.

Over the past 19 years, Lynn Gill, program coordinator at the Student Health Center, said she has seen different levels of preparation in students’ diets once they arrive to college.

Gill said students struggle to find a balanced diet in the dining halls. She said she noticed students seem to skip breakfast and eat smaller meals throughout the day.

“This type of diet causes students to be less energized during the day,” Gill said.

She said more students prepare their meals in the microwave than in previous years. Microwavable foods have become more convenient and accessible to students, she said.

Gill said first-year freshmen experience an average weight gain of 3.86 pounds, and the freshman 15 is considered more of a myth. She said she isn’t concerned about students’ weight gain; she is more worried about the individual’s overall health status.

David Peace, a senior from Aurora studying therapeutic recreation, said he didn’t gain the freshman 15, but it was more like the freshman 50.

He said healthy food choices were scarce, and there was a limited selection in the dining halls which forced him to eat unhealthy foods.

“The meal plans had a lot to do with my weight gain,” Peace said. “Every time I would go to Lentz Hall, I would eat a lot.”

In his freshman year, Peace said he would go to the Recreation Center only to play intramural sports with his brothers of Beta Theta Pi.

“Exercising at the Recreational Center and other facilities is a great way to improve someone’s overall lifestyle,” he said.


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About Tyler Moore

Tyler Moore can be reached at or 536-3311 ext. 259.

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