Too much turkey, candy binges and the “freshman fifteen” worries can send students swarming to the gym. The University has many options for students, faculty and other members of the community to get in shape and feel confident in a program they can stick with.
U-Move, one of the University’s health and fitness programs, offers affordable and fun group exercise classes and, at the same time, gives Kinesiology students and faculty the opportunity to work and study in leadership roles relative to their field.
This year, the rush of students to U-Move left staff and fitness professionals wondering just how long they would stay.
“U-Move is a great program, with group fitness taught at the highest professional standards. The big question, then, is not why there are tons of people lining up for class during (the first) week,” said Johann Borenstein, an Engineering research professor who has been teaching aerobics at U-Move for more than five years.
“The big question is why, on a Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., you can find only a handful of participants in the only group fitness class being taught in all of Ann Arbor at that particular hour,” Borenstein said.
Borenstein’s wife, Laurie Finch, also teaches with the U-Move program. She taught high-low impact aerobics for five years, and, this year, she is teaching spinning classes for the first time. A large part of her spinning class is the music, which she chooses carefully to best motivate her classes.
In a single session, participants are likely to hear anything from John Cougar Mellencamp to The Tramp’s “Disco Inferno.” She began with a New Year’s resolution to get healthy in 2000, and Borenstein’s classes helped her to make a permanent commitment to personal fitness.
“He made that hour of fitness so much fun that I was immediately hooked,” Finch said. “I quickly realized that I was a person who needed a scheduled class with an instructor and great music as well as the support and camaraderie of a group class to make the New Year’s resolution promise a permanent part of my weekly routine.”
“We take into account student, faculty and staff schedules. We offer a few early morning classes, a good variety of half-hour noon classes and then a slew of evening classes,” said Danielle Vincent, assistant director for U-Move. “A lot of what we offer is dictated by utilization trends that vary by semester and even by day.”
Vincent pins most of the success of the U-Move program on the quality, enthusiasm and diversity of its instructors. The participants seem to agree.
“It’s easy for a student to get busy with school and put the gym at the bottom of their list of priorities,“ said Kristin Ellis, a Nursing junior who is taking U-Move classes for the first time this semester.
“That‘s why I loved cardio blast, because (Borenstein) was so animated and fun. It was a tough workout, but the time flew by and he was hilarious and motivating at the same time,” Ellis said.
U-Move classes are taught at the Intermural Sports Building, the Central Campus Recreation Building and the North Campus Recreation Building.
MFit, a division of the University of Michigan Health System, is a more medically based program that offers a range of programs, from nutrition and personal training to cooking classes and smoking cessation. Classes are offered all over campus and at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube.
MFit has also introduced some new programs for students this year, including personal training services and the weight management Program. These programs offer a holistic approach to weight loss, including diet, exercise, mental health assessment and exercise strategy.
“This program is not solely about weight loss, said David Waymann, manager of Fitness Center Initiatives for MFit. “It is making an investment in your future well being, not just the ‘freshman 20.’ ”
Holly Scherer, a registered dietician and coordinator for the MFit Weight Management Program, finds that small steps are the key to long-term success with a weight-loss program.
“We’re taking a look at what they are willing to change, and teaching (participants) to develop healthy habits they can live with,” she said.
Seminars like “Vegan Meals” and “Salads For All Seasons,” make getting healthy fun and painless, and spots in the courses are in high demand. Exercise and relaxation classes are at their highest enrollment ever this semester, Waymann said, who added it is partially due to continuous change and growth within the programs.
U-Move registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis and most classes cost less than $50 per semester. MFit programs offer special student pricing, and coupons for free and discounted services will be distributed at University basketball and hockey games.