Section: News

KenyonFit expands, motivates

KenyonFit expands, motivates

photo by Kristen Huffman

by Deborah Malamud

This semester, KenyonFit has seen an uptick in the number of classes it offers students, professors and other members of the community.

“I had an increase in the number of available and qualified instructors, so I was able to offer a few more classes than usual,” Coordinator for Lifetime Fitness and Physical Education Emily Heithaus wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Additionally, as the advisor to the Yoga … [and Meditation] House … I have all the yoga teachers I can handle!” Heithaus wrote that, in making her class schedule, she seeks to “encompass all the areas of fitness: cardiovascular, strength/toning, flexibility, mind/body, and agility.”

KenyonFit began in 1999 and offers paid positions to its instructors, but has always been free for participants. According to Heithaus, “classes are completely funded through existing athletic department programming and payroll budgets” and are attended by nine to 10 participants each class, on average, as taken from instructor-provided attendance data from fall 2014. To monitor attendance, “every KenyonFit instructor has a sign-in sheet that they use for each class, where participants write down their name and whether they are a student, employee or visitor,” Anya Schulman ’17 wrote in an email to the Collegian.

Schulman , who teaches a “Spin and Sculpt” class, suggests that participants arrive early to ensure a spot in her class, which accommodates 11 people on KAC spin bikes.

KenyonFit instructors uphold Heithaus’s vision of “having a consistent fitness program [that] can help the intellectual, emotional and social aspects of wellness” by encouraging consistent attendance. “I try to connect my classes from week to week,” Karin Cao ’15, a yoga instructor, wrote in an email to the Collegian. “For example, the sequence I teach one week, I’ll try to develop … and maybe bring it to the next level for the following week. So, there’s a flow and continuity to my class.”

Heithaus notes that attendance is “generally highest at the beginning of the fall semester [and the] beginning of the spring semester,” the latter of which she attributes to “New Year’s resolutions,” and “the weeks leading up to spring break.” To gauge how popular a class is in order to schedule future classes, attendance sheets are “tallied to get numbers on overall attendance, the number of different individuals who attend classes, sex, student or employee status, averages by class and averages by month.” Classes range from three to 28 students.

KenyonFit classes are generally beneficial and fulfilling for both student and instructor. “I’ve taken a couple of yoga classes and the teachers are really, really great, … professional and skilled in the practice,” Maya Street-Sachs ’17 said. Cao, who describes seeing the face of a student who has mastered a difficult yoga position as “priceless,” finds it “rewarding to see the students grow in their practice.” Likewise, Schulman’s experience as part of the KenyonFit program has also been positive.

“My favorite thing about [it] is the opportunity it provides me to give back to the Kenyon community,” Shulman said. “I have professors, administrators, employees and fellow students in my classes that work incredibly hard to ensure my experience here as a student is positive, so I’m happy I can give something back to them.”

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