This semester, the Bible and theology department and Wellness Council are offering opportunities for students and faculty to come together for fitness initiatives. These initiatives provide a system of support, accountability and fun for those who hope to focus on fitness in 2016.
Bill Quigley, assistant professor of youth ministries, began an accountability group in the Bible and theology department using Fitbits as a result of purchasing one for himself last year. Quigley is a firm believer in the benefits of walking and has a personal goal of 5 miles a day.
“Walking is the easiest of the exercises,” Quigley said. “It’s social so you can do it with a number of friends, regardless of age.”
The information gathered from a Fitbit is able to be uploaded online and shared with friends, providing the element of accountability and encouragement from others.
The accountability group began to form when Lisa Hamilton, administrative assistant for the department of Bible, theology and ministry, noticed the success Quigley experienced with the Fitbit.
“I saw how he was being accountable for his walking and his steps, so I got myself one,” Hamilton said. “It has helped me be accountable for the water I drink, my sleep pattern at night, the steps that I take and the exercise and activity that I need to do to become a better person inside and out.”
The department accommodates students by reimbursing part of the cost of their Fitbit.
Adam Erbrick, junior Bible and theology and youth ministry major, recently joined the group. Adam is also a leader in DOTS, department of theology students.
“I decided that, as a student leader for the department, it would be good for me, especially since I’m trying to get myself prepared to go back and do missions this summer,” Erbrick said.
The Wellness Council had a similar goal of accountability and encouragement when they began FitFams this semester. Students sign up in groups, or “fams,” to participate in various workout activities. Groups gain points toward rewards by completing their workouts.
The goal of FitFams is to encourage students to take advantage of the wellness center on campus. Participating in groups helps students feel more comfortable and makes working out a social activity.
Wellness Council members are available to help groups through the first few workouts and create a workout plan that suits their needs.
This is the first year of FitFams, but Kirsten Folzenlogen, senior exercise science major and president of Wellness Council, is hopeful the program will provide motivation for students to continue to be healthy.
“This year in Wellness Council we really tried to look more at our mission and what we wanted to accomplish,” Folzenlogen said. “In the past we have done a lot of events which are good, but we really wanted to get people more active in general and make it more of a change in lifestyle”
Folzenlogen believes in the importance of wellness, especially in college as habits and practices are forming and stress can be high.
“Wellness, not only working out but also your personal health and nutrition, is important to lower your stress level and create a healthy lifestyle,” Folzenlogen said.
There are two groups and one individual currently participating in FitFams, but the Wellness Council is hoping more students will join throughout the semester.
Every participant receives a green #MUFitFam bracelet as a reminder of their commitment to fitness and to spread awareness of the program.
FitFam is open to all students. If you would like to create or join a FitFam, forms are available at the health desk in the wellness center.
Alexis Kreiner is a contributing writer for The Aviso