On Tuesday, the KenyonFit Fitness Resource Center in the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC) had its grand opening, complete with healthy snacks like cheese and hummus and informational displays on nutrition and exercise. Emily Heithaus, coordinator for Lifetime Fitness and director of the new program, was there to answer students’ questions about how they can utilize the new center, which is located in KAC 242.
Heithaus believes that the program will help the KenyonFit department improve access to health information. “We have felt like there’s more that can be done to help educate students about fitness and how their lives are going to be impacted over the short term,” she said.
Heithaus hopes that the center will allow students to choose their own adventure. She understands that non-athletes have different needs and may lack basic wellness knowledge. “It was important to us that we started looking at different ways to make sure people knew what was around … that people had a good idea about what we could do for them,” she said.
Based on their level of exercise and their current nutrition regimens, students can select the resources that best suit them. Some may simply want to take a look at one of the resource center’s nutrition textbooks. Others may want to test their resting metabolic rate on the treadmill by using an oxygen mask connected to a computer. This information will allow students and community members to set workout paces and goals for themselves. The idea is that all of these resources are provided in a welcoming, stress-free environment.
There is also an academic component to the project: Heithaus and her partner on the project, Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach Courtney Hamm, see it as a great opportunity for research. “[In] classes in the natural sciences or health and sport studies, it might be interesting to look at some of the data that we can collect during exercise tests,” Heithaus said. As students learn more about their own diets and exercise habits, they can reach broader conclusions about health at Kenyon.
Students who visit the resource room may find the equipment intimidating at first. However, Heithaus points out that stress can be eased through an appointment with a Kenyon professional, who can assist those interested in setting up tests to determine current nutrition and fitness levels. They can also help students establish subsequent training strategies for enhancing wellness.
The resource center is open during KAC hours, and Heithaus invites everyone to make use of the space. “We started this project probably a good six months ago, with the idea that we wanted to create a space that would be accessible for students, faculty, staff and community members anytime,” she said. With new equipment and resources available, the goal is to bring the broader Gambier community together in pursuit of improved well-being.