Schedule fitness into your day with a kinesiology class


The kinesiology and health department offers recreational classes focused on activities such as swimming, running and bowling. Courtesy of Unsplash.

The kinesiology and health department offers classes focused around ice skating, swimming, bowling and more for students to prioritize their physical health.

The kinesiology and health department offers recreational classes for students who are seeking a healthier lifestyle through its physical activity program.

The program includes courses such as ice skating, swimming and bowling. Jennifer Smith-Wittrock, the director of the physical activity program, has been with the kinesiology and health department for 13 years and supports the students in these classes.

“We have a lot to be proactive about to make sure things are done well,” Smith-Wittrock said. “We typically see pretty steady numbers in our classes and activities during the start of a semester.”

Although participation has been steadily increasing, the COVID-19 pandemic put a strain on numbers because class sizes had to be reduced, according to Smith-Wittrock.

“We are seeing more people coming back to take those credits,” Smith-Wittrock said. “A lot of different students who take our classes have a lot of different aspirations to achieve.”

Each of the physical activity program classes are offered on a pass-fail basis and taught by graduate students.

“Having controlled environments allows our students to come and take a class; they might also take intramurals through rec services,” Smith-Wittrock said. “But to get a pass-fail grade or earn credits here doesn’t hurt either; we want to encourage students to seek their career.”

Jennifer encourages students to prioritize their health and wellness for both their own well-being and career path, be it any major they are pursuing.

“We offer resources so that students have a priority to be healthy and active to be able to work longer and be more efficient later in their lives,” Smith-Wittrock said. “I think that it’s an important mission on our part to make sure our students take care of themselves.”

For many of the students and staff in the kinesiology and health department, including Smith-Wittrock, being healthy and active is one of the most important traits for people as a mission on their part to take care of themselves.

Some of the available classes focus on martial self-defense, judo and tae kwon do. Jacob Phelps, a senior studying mechanical engineering, spent four semesters taking each of them to learn about the arts of self-defense.

“I find the classes very useful in general,” Phelps said. “It’s a good way to break stress and get a good sweat going.”

Phelps is also the captain and president of the judo team. Martial arts is a topic Phelps enjoys practicing, and it is something he feels is valuable.

“I think that martial arts has a lot to teach, especially with technique and respect for the culture you’re learning about,” Phelps said.

For Phelps, getting knocked down and getting back up to face an adversary shows effort and persistence toward personal growth.

“It can seem a little intimidating throwing people or being tossed around,” Phelps said. “I can assure you, no prior training is needed because everybody can get something out of it.”

An available list of classes can be found on the kinesiology and health website.