Pioneering Faculty/Staff Fitness program best-kept campus secret

If you’re looking to stay fit, get a little stress relief, or just get together and exercise with, oh, say a few hundred friends, the Faculty/Staff Fitness program is for you.

A Faculty/Staff Fitness Pilates class, taught by Carey Hilbert, is in progress in the Women’s Building.

A Faculty/Staff Fitness Pilates class, taught by Carey Hilbert, is in progress in the Women’s Building. (photo: Hiroko Shimura)

For almost 25 years, the program has served the health, fitness and well-being of OSU’s faculty and staff.  In those years, the program has gone from 10 activity classes per term enrolling 100 participants to more than 30 sessions each quarter serving more than 800 participants.

Bill Winkler, a retired professor and coach for the OSU swim team, and Michael Maksud, emeritus dean of the then-College of Health and Human Performance, started the program in the spring of 1984. Today, the College of Health & Human Sciences initiative is one of only two such university programs offered in the United States.

Despite its success, program director Rochelle Schwab wonders if many at OSU even know that the program exists.

“People often get confused between Dixon Recreation Center and this program,” said Schwab.  Both promote fitness for faculty and staff. “Dixon, however, is a student-funded program, which does not enable them to provide classes and different services for just faculty and staff.”

Bill Winkler, retired, teaches a swim class at Langton Hall pool.

Bill Winkler, retired, teaches a swim class at Langton Hall pool. (photo: Hiroko Shimura)

Faculty/Staff Fitness program classes cover a broad range: from cardio kickboxing to tennis to pilates to aqua aerobics. Paul Marinello, a Business Affairs assistant manager and participant in the Core Stability Ball/Yoga class, said, “Pulling me through the winter blues, the fitness class was a true reprieve from the demands of the desk and persistent rains.”

Marinello is not alone. In a survey of program users, participants characterized the classes as “a very valuable part of my working life.” “It helps me stay healthy and makes me more productive,” one respondent wrote. “It allows me an opportunity to interact with people from all over campus and to make connections that I would not otherwise be able to do.”

In addition to activity classes, Faculty Staff/Fitness offers quarterly blood screenings, as well as blood pressure and pulse-rate checks, all of which are free of charge. Class costs have been kept affordable, and the program has no membership fee. On average, each class session costs about $2.50.

Classes are held in Langton Hall and the Women’s Building, usually around 7 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m. to make it convenient for working faculty and staff to participate. Faculty/Staff Fitness is available to all employees, their spouses/partners, graduate students, and retired employees. For more information, call 737-3222.

~by Hoda Eslamizar

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