As Long Beach State continues with virtual instruction for the 2020-21 academic year, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center continues to offer virtual fitness and wellness classes for all students.
Funded by the University Student Union fee included in tuition, these recreational classes were made available following the decision to move in-person classes online back in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Aquatics and Safety Coordinator Michael Freeman, who has been teaching some of these virtual recreation and wellness classes, said he has noticed that students seem interested in and are taking advantage of these resources.
“You might be stuck [at home] with mom or dad,” Freeman said. “I think [these classes are] another way to connect socially.”
Freeman has been teaching wellness courses including “Help Others Deal With COVID-19” via Zoom, where he addresses self-care methods and ways to manage stress.
“There’s loss of friends and family during this time,” Freeman said. “It’s really important that we can help.”
Other wellness courses offered via Zoom on a weekly basis include Mindful Yoga, Simply Strong and Zumba.
Aside from fitness and wellness courses, the SRWC is presenting students with the opportunity to explore nature virtually through the National Park Series.
James Ahumada, Associated Students Inc., senior communications manager, said his team of student leaders is converting classes, as well as learning and working with peers to meet everyone’s needs.
“We learned a lot in the spring, we flipped the switch,” Ahumada said. “We really used that data that we have from the end of March, April and May as kind of a research opportunity.”
But student attendance has differed from previous semester with the transition to remote learning, Ahumada said.
Julia Hietke, a fourth-year kinesiology major, teaches a legs and glute workout class, “Legs Get Physical,” every Monday and Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 4:40 p.m.
“Everybody misses the gym,” Hietke said. “It’s easier to be lazier at home, that’s why [these classes are] nice.”
Hietke said she used to teach her classes in person, where she would get 15-20 students attending each session. Now, she gets five or six.
During her last session, though, there was only one student.
Hietke said she attributes the higher attendance in in-person workout classes to the motivating atmosphere that a gym can provide.
To combat the lowering class sizes, Hietke said the fitness and wellness classes should be promoted more as many students are unaware of the virtual offerings unless they explore the SRWC website.
In addition to the issue of class sizes, Hietke said the inability to make use of the SRWC facilities is inconvenient for students who face the issue of a lack of exercise equipment at home.
Instead, Hietke said she has gotten creative with her teaching, tweaking the workouts to include more repetitions with body weight to make it accessible to all students.
“I love [teaching], I love it so much,” Hietke said. “I just want people to stay active.”
As these recreational classes continue, students have the chance to win free tuition through Owen’s Condition For Tuition by tracking their points on the SRWC website and taking a photo of themselves during or post-workout.