These innovative programming ideas motivate members to exercise using all offered programs and products.
Certified in Wellness Excellence
Is the Freshman 15 - the amount of weight students can expect to gain in their first year of college - a myth? It might be, but the truth is that more than half of college students do gain weight during their first year.Long hours of studying often mean less time for physical activity. And, while most colleges do have some physical activity requirement, it's not enough to keep those pounds from creeping on. Louann Davies, a wellness instructor and assistant at the Rochester Institute of Technology's new fitness center, recognized this, and decided to do something about it by creating the Certificate of Excellence in Fitness & Wellness. Sponsored by the Center for Intercollegiate Athletics & Recreation, students are encouraged to apply for the certificate program online, which is free. By participating, students are assigned a personal wellness coach to work with them throughout the year, are given recognition in the center and on campus, are provided a one-year complimentary alumni membership to all of the institute's facilities and a one-year pass to the men's hockey games (RIT is Division I in men's hockey), and are invited as guests at the end-of-the-year luncheon where they are given a certificate, as well as other gifts. Students participating in the program are required to complete double the graduation requirement for physical activity (four classes vs. two), maintain normal progress toward graduation, stay in good academic/judicial standing, maintain their one-on-one meetings with the wellness coach, and participate in community service and/or attend wellness-related seminars. This year, the Center for Intercollegiate Athletics & Recreation has 22 students enrolled. While that's a small number compared to the 15,000-plus students on campus, Davies believes the program has served as a role model for other students. "We are saying that we will provide the resources and the manpower ... if you [students] will make a commitment to being active and making fitness an important part of your life," says Davies.
Trick or Trim
The Trick or Trim inventive program helped members steer clear of Halloween candy and expend more calories at the same time.It's hard to resist Halloween candy. There's always an abundance of it, and it's seemingly everywhere. So, to encourage members to exercise and steer clear of Halloween treats this past year, Megan Williams and Stacey Hubbard from the Sallie Mae Metroplex Fitness Center at the National Institute for Fitness and Sport developed Trick or Trim. The seven-day incentive program, which ran from October 23 through 31, provided participants with daily workouts corresponding to candy calories. Each day, participants would fictitiously trick or teat to a different house and, at each house, they would receive pretend candy and a corresponding workout to use up those calories. After each completed workout, participants completed a drawing slip to enter to win a prize at the end of the program. "The program came about as a way to educate our corporate fitness site members of exactly how sneaking your children's candy or eating candy leftovers add up," says Williams, fitness center manager. "It was a fun, creative way to get them motivated to exercise, and provide them with new workouts to decrease boredom." Forty-nine members participated in the program, expending approximately 1,561 calories per person. Prizes included a one-year subscription to a health-related magazine of their choice, an Adidas gym bag and two Indiana Repertory Theatre tickets. "Our members absolutely loved the incentive," says Williams. "It increased our membership, as well as monthly visits. I'm seeing new faces on a regular basis completing the Trick or Trim workouts even though the incentive is over. Best of all, members informed me that they completely steered clear of Halloween candy this year once they learned how long you have to exercise to burn it off!"
The Tennis and Fitness Center's Successful Aging program creates programs specifically for older adults who have been released from physical therapy.With the population of active adults ages 55 and older growing faster than ever in the U.S., so too is the number of injuries requiring physical therapy. The problem is that, once patients are released from physical therapy, where do they go? The Tennis and Fitness Center, which caters to this population, knows this problem all too well. That is why the staff developed Successful Aging, a program that smooths the transition from physical therapy to fitness. "When physical therapy is over, the patient is given instructions as to what exercises he or she can do," says Cathy Presutti, tennis and fitness consultant manager. But what they really need is a program and additional guidance. "We have a separate corner just for Successful Aging, with a NuStep, bands and pulleys," Presutti says. "We work closely with physical therapists in creating an exercise program suited to the members' individual needs." Members who enroll in the program are eligible for a discount on membership and receive three half-hour personal training sessions. A physical therapist and personal trainer review those members' progress every two months, or on an as-needed basis. While the program has only been in existence since August 2006, as of this writing, it has brought in 30 new members. And, present members are also taking advantage of some of the new equipment. Other facilities could benefit by designing similar programs for this population. "The Successful Aging program is something that can be used ... by anyone," says Presutti.