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Signing Up for Fitness and Fun

Employee Wellness Program Offers Range of Opportunities

Feb. 25, 2014

Cal State Fullerton faculty and staff members have found a way to work out without having to drive to a busy fitness center: it's the Employee Wellness Program.

The program, established in 2003, offers faculty and staff opportunities to participate in a variety of physical activities and health-related fitness assessments. Offered year-around are strength and conditioning, and women's workout courses, as well as yoga, Pilates, lap swimming and open gym classes.

The use of the term classes was important, said William C. Beam, acting chair and professor of kinesiology who oversaw the program's creation. "We wanted people to think of it in the same way as an academic course — that there is an expectation of attendance. A big part is to give participants some responsibility and ownership."

"The EWP is not only a great place to work out with the assistance of very knowledgeable kinesiology students and graduates, it is also a great place to meet people from all over campus and make wonderful friends," said Jill Rodriguez, an administrative analyst in the College of Health and Human Development. "We get a great workout, often doing more than we ever thought we could, and having fun with our EWP friends."

Herb Rutemiller, professor emeritus of management science, agrees. "I have been with the EWP program for ten years. If you have ever been to commercial gyms, you will find this a delightful experience."

"Unlike commercial gyms, where individuals are glued to TVs or electronic devices, people at EWP actually talk to one another, encourage each other, share important life happenings to celebrate or commiserate, and sometimes get together outside the gym," said Joan Spangler, a retired lecturer in English, comparative literature and linguistics. "The students who work here are very enthusiastic and committed to what they do. They assist when we want advice, tell us about their research, formulate creative 'boot camp' programs to diversify your exercise experience, and sometimes just chat and make you laugh to keep you going on the elliptical when your energy is flagging."

And the health benefits are obvious. When Rob Watson, professor of music, signed up for the program, Beam ran an EKG while Watson walked on a treadmill. Shortly into the exam, Beam told Watson to see his physician right way. Watson followed orders and soon had angioplasty for three blockages.

"Since then, I've continued my membership in EWP and competed in five half-marathons and an assorted array of 5K events," Watson said. "My creativity and mood have soared and I'm much more trim than I've been, probably in my whole life. Thank you Bill and EWP, from the bottom of my healthy heart."

New opportunities to get into a fitness program are being offered. This spring, the EWP began offering a "yoga punch pass " — for $50 faculty and staff members can attend 10 of the yoga classes offered at noon weekdays.

In the works are plans for a nutrition program, Zumba course and a higher-intensity group fitness class, such as cardio/kick boxing. Laura Chandler, lecturer in health science, is working with two students to conduct a needs assessment, asking members of the Employee Wellness Program what types of activities and other programs they would be interested in having offered. Eventually, Chandler added, "I would like to do a campuswide survey about the issue and perhaps coordinate all such efforts at Cal State Fullerton."

"We're looking for feedback from the campus community, said Christine Quiros, co-director of the program and a 2010 kinesiology alumna. "We're trying to hit every aspect of fitness, provide a wide range of services and exercise opportunities and meet the needs of faculty and staff."

It's not too late to sign up. Midsession registration begins Monday, March 17. For more information, check out the EWP website or email, employeewellness@fullerton.edu.

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