At the Wellness Center, there are plenty of options for students to get involved in exercise and healthy habits. With around 65 group classes offered per week, the Wellness Center has a wide variety of physical activity options.
Wendy Johnson, associate director of the Wellness Center, said it’s important for college students to start paying attention to their health and fitness.
“When you come into college, you may have some healthy habits, but you also might already have some bad habits, so the sooner you start paying attention to that and making a plan to choose a healthier lifestyle, the easier it is to maintain that over the course of your life,” Johnson said. “It’s a big issue when you have a lot of physical activity in your life and then all of a sudden you don’t (exercise).”
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, it’s recommended for someone to have three days of cardiovascular activity, two days of strength training and two days of flexibility training, rotated throughout the week. The Wellness Center offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to target all of these areas.
Johnson said asking questions is the best way to create a successful fitness plan.
“If you go to a class, you might find people with your same interests,” Johnson said. “You can ask the instructor questions and they’ll help guide you.”
Johnson said tying physical activity in with social support and making a conscious effort to eat healthily creates a foundation of a healthy life.
“We’re not all going to be perfect, I think that’s a big part of a sustainable lifestyle,” Johnson said. “Looking at your lifestyle from all aspects and finding a nice balance will make you feel successful. You find this internal reward and think, ‘I feel good today.’ I think a lot of us just look at it as a quick fix, but it needs to be looked at more as a holistic approach for life in general.”
Sierra Vander Zee, a first-year social work major, is working toward becoming a personal trainer. She said a good way for students to get into exercising daily is to go to the gym with friends or attend group fitness classes.
“Everyone in a class is there for the same reason,” she said. “Have a good time and don’t worry about anyone else.”
Certified personal trainer Nick Fey instructs boot camps and educational classes at the Wellness Center. Fey said beginners should go easy at the start of their programs and progress from there.
“I think the best thing for students is to ask for a trainer or a program design,” Fey said. “You don’t even have to worry, that’s one less decision you have to make. You have someone there along the way to have that social support. It also helps students stick to their goals a lot more because I hold them accountable.”
Fey said the responsibility is the main part of a successful fitness plan, but it’s also important to leave time for relaxation.
“I try to implement the 80/20 rule,” Fey said. “So you’re strict with diet, exercise and study habits 80 percent of the time and the other 20 percent of the time you enjoy your life and what you’re doing. You have to find that balance.”
Fey said going to the Wellness Center is the best place for USD students to start their fitness routines and reach their goals.
“Enjoy the process of reaching your goals and creating a reward system,” Fey said. “You may not necessarily enjoy going to the gym, but you’ll enjoy the benefits in the long run. Making that first step is the most important and once you get that positive feedback, you’re on that track for the long run.”