BYU gives students options for staying physically fit

BYU senior Michaela Tanne takes advantage of BYU’s indoor track and weights room as she works to stay fit and exercise. (Lauren Lethbridge)

BYU provides students with multiple options for staying fit and healthy. Students can choose from a variety of activities, classes and programs as they work to stay active while attending college.

BYU exercise science professor Larry Tucker said there are hundreds of benefits to exercising. He said exercise can reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity. It can also be a great stress reducer and help people feel more relaxed.

“Exercise is medicine,” Tucker said. “In fact, in many cases, exercise is better than pills.”

Health Coach Trent Sever said physical activity can help students feel more fulfilled and well-rounded. Physical activity allows students to feel they are not only gaining an education and growing spiritually, but also learning to progress and take care of themselves.

Y Be Fit is a program for students, faculty and community members where participants meet with health coaches. During these meetings, participants make goals and track their progress, according to Sever.

Students pay $70 to participate in a 16-week program where they meet weekly one-on-one with a health trainer. If students don’t want to do the program, they can pay $20 for a fitness assessment or use the BodPod, a tool that measures body composition. 

Sever said Y Be Fit gives students and faculty a direction to go when beginning to exercise. The program keeps participants accountable for their progress and goals.

“For those people who don’t exercise it’s hard to start changing how they eat or starting an exercise program,” Sever said. “A lot of times accountability will help with that.” 

BYU also provides student activity classes each semester. There are an array of classes offered including volleyball, weightlifting, skiing and jogging. Each class is worth 0.5 credits and is usually two class hours per week, according to Student Activities Program Coordinator Glenna Padfield.

“It’s important that individuals get exercise and they get to choose to do whatever activity they want,” Padfield said. “It’s a social thing as well. Friends sign up together. They like the classes for getting to know people.”

For students who enjoy team-based workouts, BYU provides intramural sports year-round. By either creating or joining a team, students compete against other students in sports like basketball, flag football and kickball. No skill or prior knowledge of the sport is required to participate, according to BYU’s intramural office.

The intramural office offered 17 different team sports in Fall 2018. The total number usually varies based on the semester.

According to the intramural office, football and soccer are the most popular sports for students. A total of 25,515 students participated in intramural sports last school year.

“The intramural office strives to provide programming for all levels of ability and experience. Our aim is to serve the recreational needs of the majority of the student body and not just the athletic minority,” said intramural secretary Emma Riddle.

Michaela Tanne, a BYU senior studying exercise and wellness from Pleasant Grove, said she loves intramural sports and sees them as a great break during the day. She said she likes how she can play any sport regardless of ability.

Eli Herring, who played offensive tackle for BYU’s football team in 1987 and 1991–94, said he believes his physical activity in college has benefited him throughout the years.

He said the exercising he did when he was younger made it easier for him to stay fit as he got older. Herring said he has worked hard to exercise consistently throughout his life and has tried out many different types of exercise and eventually found what was best for him.

“I think one of the most important things that young people can do is just start finding exercises and physical activities that they enjoy doing,” Herring said. 

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