Students Need Fitness and Wellness Education!

My life has been about fitness and wellness, as I was a fitness director for 10 years, have worked as a strength and conditioning coach for many years, and currently spend my days personally training at a small studio. I have taught a similar course at two other Universities and felt fortunate that I have been able to help these students find themselves, whether it was physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. I am not saying that I reached everyone, as that is not realistic, but the thing is I try every time. Our nation is among the fattest nations in the world and the statistics are only getting worse. Especially as times get harder, people tend to stop taking care of themselves. They lose sight of what is truly important…their health and wellness.

I watched my dad battle diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a stroke, a kidney transplant and other cardiovascular issues for many years. I begged and pleaded with him to change his habits and eat healthier. I tried to make him understand that these changes can make a BIG difference in his overall health and that he wouldn’t feel so tired all the time. We lost my dad suddenly on Oct. 2nd at the age of 61yo and the autopsy revealed that in the end he had severe blockages in his arteries and that is what stopped his heart. I truly feel that if my father had better guidance at a young age that maybe his life could have been a little healthier…maybe he could have lived a little longer…or at the very least felt a little better each of the days that he was with us.

There are many other reasons I feel this Fitness Wellness course should remain a requirement such as obesity rates climbing, lack of physical education and health in the schools, and lack of guidance at home for better overall wellness but in the end my drive to continue to reach 1 student or 50 students is still coming from the fact that my father lived an unhealthy lifestyle and he died at such a young age due to factors that he could have controlled. These students need guidance all the way through. Everyone knows that exercise and wellness is essential but not everyone has the opportunity to learn more about it or be motivated to actually practice it.

I can’t even tell you all the students that have come up to me over the years during the semester or after the semester to tell me how much they enjoyed the class because it helped them either introduce or re-introduce wellness and fitness back into their lives. I had a student this semester whose home life is terrible and she was really trying to keep herself less stressed by eating healthier and getting more exercise in just to keep her sanity. I had another student use our end of the semester journal writing to help himself as well as his mom get back into an exercise program. And the stories go on….

Fitness / Wellness needs to be added back into our list of required courses because I feel that if it is not, we will continue to lose this battle against obesity and many of our students will find themselves 10, 20, or 30 years from now begging for second chances because they have a list of diseases and conditions that could have been controlled and/or eliminated at younger ages. Please, think about the people in your circle of life, how many of them practice good wellness and fitness? How many of them have a list of diseases or conditions that could have been controlled if they just took some responsibility for their own actions?

Kim Foster, adjunct faculty for Physical Education