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Options abound for employees seeking to get fit

Several people lifting weights during a fitness class.
Faculty and staff toning muscles during a Body Pump class in the Chinook Student Center (photo by Neri Diomedi, Division of Student Affairs).

For faculty and staff on the Pullman campus looking to become more active, University Recreation (UREC) is ready to help. 

Registration is open for fitness session 2, which provides many opportunities for faculty and staff to focus on aerobics and conditioning, mind and body wellness, mobility and flexibility, and more.  

UREC offers a variety of membership options for the Student Recreation Center (SRC) and the Chinook Student Center on the Pullman campus. The Noontime Fitness Program was created with faculty and staff in mind and provides access to both the SRC and Chinook between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., for $180 a year. Semester and summer memberships are also available.

“Whether you choose to join the Noontime Fitness Program or become a regular member, you gain access to great facilities,” said Nick Prante, assistant director for the Student Recreation Center and membership. “We pride ourselves on providing a clean environment, well-maintained equipment, and friendly staff.”  

Building community through exercise

Whether it be noontime yoga, Body Pump, or CrossFit, group fitness classes are popular among faculty and staff. Jessica Whitt, UREC assistant director for fitness and instruction, said all classes are designed to accommodate people of all fitness levels.

“Our fitness instructors have a lot of training on progressions and modifications,” she said. “They are ready to teach everyone, from those who rarely exercise on up to very fit athletes.”

Whitt said one of the benefits of exercising in a group is being able to feed off the energy in the room and receive encouragement from fellow classmates. 

“You get to know other faculty, staff, and students in an environment where everyone is equal,” Whitt said. “It’s just a fun way to exercise and build community.”

Faculty and staff enjoy participating in intramural sports for many of the same reasons. Most play on teams with students, and there are four levels of competition available depending on one’s experience with the sport. Session 2 league sports include volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, dodgeball, and badminton; the deadline to register is March 23.

For those who prefer more intimate fitness options, UREC offers small group and personal training. UREC personal trainers are nationally certified and can help individuals increase their strength, improve cardiovascular endurance and speed, and safely lose weight if that is a goal. 

Improve your swimming

On the Pullman campus, gym membership includes access to the SRC pool (currently closed for maintenance), Smith Pool, and Gibb Pool. Swimmers can exercise individually or, starting for the first time this semester, join UREC’s U.S. Masters Swimming Club. The club is designed for adults who enjoy a team atmosphere and want to improve their swimming skills.

Jared Lindorfer, UREC aquatics and safety education coordinator, said most of the participants are recreational swimmers, but the coaches will work with those who would like swim competitively at U.S. Masters sanctioned events. 

“Our coaches have had competitive experience and are good at teaching new techniques and helping swimmers improve their personal records,” Lindorfer said. “Our group is small enough that they can tailor practices to help swimmers meet their individual goals, whether it be improving a specific stroke, training for a triathlon, or swimming longer and harder.”

Fitness across the system

Fitness options for faculty and staff vary on the other WSU campuses. Those at WSU Everett can go to the nearby Everett Community College Fitness Center at a reduced rate. At WSU Vancouver, faculty and staff can use the campus fitness center and participate in classes and fitness challenges for free.

Marci Haynes, a WSU Vancouver fitness center staff member, said fitness challenges include exercises anyone can try and are designed to get more people active.

Faculty and staff at WSU Spokane can participate in several virtual wellness programs through the Wellness Collaborative, and the fitness center at WSU Tri-Cities is hoping to offer Zumba and yoga classes to faculty and staff in the fall.

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