Physical fitness is often difficult for the average college student to attain. Dining options low in fat are often scarce, alcohol dominates the social scene and it can be very difficult to fit optional trips to the gym into a busy schedule of academic and extracurricular commitments. A good way to work against this unhealthy trend would be for the University to offer fitness classes for credit.
This idea is hardly a novel one. A large number of universities and colleges throughout the nation offer a variety of fitness classes for credit. Just down the road at the Rochester Institute of Technology, classes such as “Core Glutes and Abs” and “Cardio Kickboxing” count toward a graduation requirement. While UR — a school that emphasizes choice and freedom from requirements — should not require physical education classes, it would be highly beneficial to the student body to offer them as a one-or-two-credit option.
Physical fitness classes would allow busy students a regular opportunity to engage in healthy and active pursuits. It would offer incentives to work out to those who need the extra push, and rewards for those who already regularly engage in physical activity.
UR already offers some classes that involve physical exercise — yoga and a variety of dance classes are available for two credits (although seniors are barred from taking yoga). It would be relatively simple to expand these offerings to include more traditional exercise classes such as weightlifting or aerobics. In fact, many of these classes are already offered for no-credit, and thus expanding them into the curriculum would be extremely simple.
Overall, the expansion of a physical education department would afford students the opportunity to receive credit for healthy lifestyle choices that may be difficult to make without a little incentive. In the college world, where unwanted weight-gain is almost a cliché and social and academic commitments are often prioritized above physical health, fitness classes could provide a push against this tide of unhealthiness.