It’s no secret that staying fit and healthy in college is a challenge. Finding time to work out or cook healthy meals can be difficult with the constant pressure of class and work. Fortunately, RIT has many options available for the health-conscious. Of particular interest are the health and fitness classes available to students. These fall in to two major camps: academic and wellness. On the academic side, health and fitness courses are designed to educate about healthy lifestyles or prepare students for employment in a fitness-related field. Wellness courses, on the other hand, are designed to provide hands-on exposure to a sport or activity.
Two academic programs are designed specifically for the study of health and fitness: a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Management and a minor in Exercise Science. The Nutrition Management program is offered through the College of Applied Science and Technology and provides training to students interested in careers as dieticians. It is a nationally accredited program that mixes biology courses with an intense focus on nutrition and food chemistry. The first year of the program provides a foundation in organic and biochemistry and introductory courses in nutrition, food production, and sanitation. From there, the curriculum builds with courses on anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and food management. Everything revolves around educating the student on how nutrition affects the health of the human body. A strong emphasis is placed on courses in human culture management, since a dietician must be able to work effectively with diverse groups of people. Three quarters of co-op must also be completed to provide necessary work experience. To become a dietician following graduation, the student must take and pass the National Registration Exam for Dietitians.
For those interested in pursuing employment as a personal trainer, RIT’s College of Health Sciences and Technology offers an Exercise Science minor advised by Dr. William Brewer. The program is designed to prepare participants for a national certification exam as a personal fitness trainer and is available to students of any major. A full sequence in biology and courses in anatomy and physiology are required. Three additional classes in nutrition, life fitness, and exercise prescription, or sports nutrition are also taken to help with the process of diagnosing fitness regimens. By the end of the program, the student should be able to examine personal fitness data to provide an assessment of a client’s health.
But what if you don’t want to get involved in an academic program for fitness? That’s where the wellness courses come in. They offer an extremely wide variety of programs available to all students, who must take a minimum of two as a graduation requirement. Dozens of classes are available.
Ever wanted to try dodgeball? There’s a class for that. Interested in learning how to juggle? Yup, there’s one for that too. Tennis? Archery? Volleyball? You got it. If you can think of a sport or activity, odds are good that it is offered as a wellness course in some form or fashion. There are seven categories that the courses are sorted into: health and wellness seminars, dance, fitness, life support and safety, lifetime recreation and leisure, interactive adventures, and martial arts.
Health and wellness seminars are lectures about improving health through education, holistic therapy, spirituality, or meditation. Dance, as its name suggests, encompasses all of the dance-related courses available. Fitness contains workout programs designed to improve the physical fitness of the student. Lifetime recreation and leisure contains all of the sports and activities that don’t quite fit anywhere else. Interactive adventures take the students into the field for everything from hiking to ice climbing. Six varieties of martial arts are taught, with classes available in self-defense and sparring as well.
Wellness courses generally do not provide any credit, so a student can take as many as they wish each quarter. Most of the classes offered are available at beginner level, so previous experience with the material is not necessary. Advanced students can take a higher-level section for practice, while beginners can take the course for fun or as an introductory lesson. Some wellness courses charge a small additional fee for the quarter, but most are free.
A number of facilities support the health and wellness programs, with several thousand square feet of exercise space and a variety of equipment available in the Student Life Center. The newest addition to the building promises to be of great use to the students and faculty of RIT: a completely computerized fitness lab. Located across from the CPR room and the dance studio on the lower level of the building, it serves as a lab for studying the mechanics of fitness in the human body. For a fee of $50 for students and $75 for faculty or staff, the lab provides a full fitness assessment based on parameters of muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, aerobic capacity, and body composition. The new lab is a modernized version of the previous facility, which processed manual measurement data by hand. Appointments for assessments are made via an online queue, but there is a limit of nine assessments processed each week. Dr. Brewer mentioned that, “the lab received 10 appointments within two hours” following the e-mail announcement of its opening, indicating that there is a large student interest in use of the facility.
RIT is constantly developing new ways to help students stay fit, active, and healthy. The sheer number of options available means that there is quite literally something for anybody interested in health. No matter if you’re looking for a career in health services or just want to give a sport or activity a shot for fun; you can definitely find something that will keep you active.