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Campuses take initiatives to improve health

Alicia Smith | Friday, January 21, 2011

For some fresh air and exercise, Saint Mary’s College Women’s Health created a program offering students, faculty and staff the opportunity to come together for a community walk each weekday at 12:15 p.m., Catherine DeCleene, director of Women’s Health said.


“We began the walks because walking at a moderate pace for 30 to 60 minutes burns stored fat and can build muscle to speed up your metabolism,” she said. “Walking is also associated with cutting your risk of heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes and stroke.”


Women’s Health held the first walk on Monday.


According to DeCleene, walkers meet each day at the mailbox outside of Holy Cross Hall. Walkers then proceed to walk one mile around campus.


DeCleene said the walks will increase to two miles as the weather improves.


“Let’s face it, everyone tries to begin each year in a healthy, positive light,” DeCleene said. “What better way than you take a few minutes out of your day to enjoy the beauty of the Saint Mary’s campus, meet new people, get some exercise and break your day up.”


According to DeCleene, about 12 to 15 people have participated in walks each day thus far.

“Most people already know the importance of exercise for a healthy life, but still fail to get started,” DeCleene said. “It is a well-documented and accepted fact that exercise is essential for ensuring that body systems and functions work properly. People who do not exercise on a regular basis suffer from various ailments and diseases as they grow older, including the problem of obesity.”


DeCleene said walking can be just as effective as jogging and can improve physical fitness.


“Walking burns approximately the same amount of calories per mile as does running, a fact particularly appealing to those who find it difficult to sustain the jarring effects of long distance jogging,” she said. “Brisk walking one mile in 15 minutes burns just about the same number of calories as jogging an equal distance in eight and a half minutes.”


DeCleene encourages everyone to attend the walks, emphasizing the importance of exercise for a healthy lifestyle.


“Often dismissed in the past as being too easy to be taken seriously, walking recently has gained new respect as a means of improving physical fitness,” she said. “Studies show that, when done briskly on a regular schedule, it can improve the body’s ability to consume oxygen during exertion, lower the resting heart rate, reduce blood pressure and increase the efficiency of the heart and lungs. It also helps burn excess calories.”


The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Campuses take initiatives to improve health

Regina Wood | Friday, January 21, 2011

As the weather grows colder and the second semester begins, more students are working out, according to Jennie Phillips, assistant director of fitness and fitness facilities at Rolfs Sports Recreation Center (RSRC).

On Tuesday, 1,900 students worked out at Rolfs. Phillips expects that number to rise to at least 2,000 people by next Monday, the beginning of the first full week of classes and Rolfs’ usual peak day of the year.

The RecSports staff reminds its supervisors this is the busiest time of year in all of their facilities so they need to be sure to pay attention to even the smallest detail such as cleaning up the snow and salt that gets tracked into the facilities.

“Our goal is to make our facilities a welcoming place for the entire campus community,” Phillips said, “Since August we’ve installed new fitness equipment, new televisions and new flooring in the RSRC fitness room. Other areas of the RSRC have new flooring or carpet and we are awaiting the delivery of new furniture for the lounge area.”

In addition, many students attended free fitness classes this week during the “Try It You’ll Like It” program. The most popular class this year is “zumba,” which is a hot trend throughout the United States.

Phillips said students appreciated the chance to try out instructors and classes before making any commitments.

Stephanie Prince, a freshman planning to major in biology, said, “I loved trying out “Step N Sculpt” because it was a fun way to exercise and had good music. It inspired me to exercise more this semester.”

In addition, Rolfs offers free training for students wishing to do their first 5-k or first half marathon. Throughout the semester, there will also be other free services, such as body composition tests, blood pressure measurements and strength equipment orientations. Students can also sign up for small personal training groups of two to four people.

Students can find more about the free fitness services and all of RecSports’ programs at recsports.nd.edu. Students can also receive a weekly e-newsletter detailing upcoming events and programs.

Phillips said she anticipates the number of students will taper off after spring break as students become busier, Bookstore Basketball gets underway and the weather gets warmer.

“It is really helpful to talk to a professional just so you are making the most out of your time and your workouts are safe and effective,” Phillips said. “Do what you like. Schedule exercise in your planner or phone. Find a buddy to work out with. We have so many things to get involved with, including intramurals, club sports, late night Olympics and fitness classes.”