Quinnipiac’s Fitness Center was bustling with both student athletes and fitness rookies, as they gathered for the Health and Wellness Fair Sept. 28 in celebration of National Fitness Day.
The students took fitness classes in either Studio A, which had been transformed into a cardio room, or Studio B, the mind and body room. From 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., all of the fitness classes that are typically offered throughout the week were shortened into 25-minute increments for students to sample. Classes such as cardio kickboxing and yoga were taught in the respective studios. At the end of the classes, instructors gave each participant a raffle ticket which they could use to enter to win a variety of different prizes. The more classes one participated in, the greater his or her chances were of winning a prize.
Organizers of the event had fitness, nutrition and health stands set up in an effort to promote healthy eating and lifestyles. One table gave out free apples, bananas, crackers with peanut butter, juice, protein bars and soy milk. Students were also offered complimentary blood pressure readings. The prize table for the raffle tickets sported T-shirts, beginner yoga kits, pedometers, water bottles, CDs and gift cards for local eateries.
Another table displayed a large board containing nutrition information provided by Becky Purcell, a nutritionist for a dialysis unit in New Haven. Purcell explained to students how to dine at the café and still maintain a healthy diet.
“The cause of weight gain for so many college students is the result of high sugar carbohydrates,” Purcell said. “The most energizing and healthy snack to eat while studying is a piece of fruit, mixed nuts, washed down with a bottle of water.”
The night attracted students who were both new to Quinnipiac fitness classes and some regulars. Kristen Flannery, a sophomore nursing major, is a regular attendee of some of the classes but came out for the night to get a feel for a class she had never taken before.
“I wanted to try out the Glutes & Guts fitness class to get a feel for it and see if I like it, but I also got a reading of my blood pressure,” Flannery said. “This fair was a great idea, they should have something like this every semester. I just think it should be advertised better next time because a lot more people would come if they knew about it!”
The brain behind the Health & Wellness Fair was Shelby Pierson, a health science major in her junior year. Pierson is an instructor of the cardio kickboxing class that meets Wednesday nights from 6:15-7:15 and Sunday nights from 5:30-6:30
“I wanted to put on the Health and Wellness Fair to promote the fitness center and a balance of physical activity in your fitness routine,” Pierson said.
The fair was modeled after last semester’s FitFest which had been run by Assistant Athletic Director for Fitness and Wellness Tami Reilly. At the Fest, 30-minute classes were offered for two consecutive hours.
Pierson adamantly believes that no matter how vigorous one’s academic schedule is, incorporating a fitness plan is extremely essential.
“You need to be healthy to get your work done,” Pierson said. “Bottom line. Exercise provides so many benefits to the body. I could spend hours discussing it, but you need to be in sound health to focus optimally on your studies. Even just 30 minutes a day is beneficial, so go for a walk with a roommate, join an intramural team, go to the gym for half an hour. It really comes down to putting your body’s physical well-being first.”
While schoolwork should certainly be at the top of any college student’s priority list, working out and staying fit is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system, which is key to earning good grades. The Health and Wellness Fair certainly emphasized the importance of exercising and with Quinnipiac’s fitness classes offered six days a week, the gym can be a fun and exciting way to burn calories and stay healthy.