By Jenna Press
As a double major, every credit hour is important to me. My schedule for each semester, always meticulously planned out, and always the maximum 18 hours, must be precise or I risk graduating late. Trying to make sure classes get taken in the correct order, both major requirements are filled, and that my days won’t be too overwhelming make signing up for classes a stressful time for me, as it is for every student. There is one thing about arranging my course schedule, however, that I despise over everything else – the fact that I am required to fit four lifetime fitness classes into my schedule.
I understand all of Baylor’s other prerequisites. The need to be well-rounded and informed upon graduation is important to the university and to me. I enjoy taking classes outside of my major, without complaint, because I recognize that they are useful. Lifetime fitness classes are, however, a complete and utter waste of my time and should not be a requirement for anyone, unless they are part of a major.
The lifetime fitness classes only take one credit hour, but they make scheduling more important or relevant classes a pain. Their one credit hour may not seem like a sacrifice, but, if not carefully planned, their one hour takes the place of a major-related class that counts for three, leaving me with two wasted hours in my schedule. Thus far, I avoided this problem by taking two lifetime fitness courses and a lab in the same semester, so as not to waste the hours. Lifetime fitness classes are something I should never have to work around.
I consider myself a fairly athletic and healthy person. I run at least four times a week; I do the Bearathon 5k every year. I go to the gym regularly, eat well and do my best to stay fit. I think having the option to take lifetime fitness classes is great. It can be nice to go to a class centered on athletics, to move around and break up the monotony of sitting all day. I enjoyed both the lifetime fitness courses I’ve taken so far, and if my schedule was only 12 hours, I would probably take some more, just to see what tai chi or racquetball was like.
Fun as they were, though, taking lifetime fitness classes didn’t stop me from going home and going on another run, just so I could get a real workout in for the day, just like it won’t stop a fat person from going home and being sedentary and eating unhealthy foods. Although I did truly enjoy the courses, in some particular classes I was thinking how my time could be so much better spent studying for classes that would actually matter to me someday.
According to Baylor’s website, the purpose of the lifetime fitness classes is to “provide health education, physical ﬁtness education, and recreation education activities that will provide mental, physical, social, and leisure time preparation for lifetime fitness for all students.”
I don’t know about you, but I’d like to think I was already headed on a path for lifetime fitness. And, although most of the lifetime fitness class options are legitimate sports, I don’t think anyone’s going to get healthier by taking a bowling class. I appreciate what Baylor is trying to do, but I don’t think it will make that much of a difference in the end.
If Baylor is that concerned about our lifetime fitness, fine. I propose – although I know this would be a huge effort by Baylor – that students get the option to get out of their fitness classes by taking a fitness test at the beginning of each semester, similar to the way they can take a language test to bypass classes. In this proposed test, students would have to run a mile in a set time, do a certain number of push-ups or sit-ups, or whatever other activity Baylor would deem necessary for us to be able to avoid taking lifetime fitness classes. It sounds juvenile, I know, to have to take a fitness test at this point in your education – but so does having to take PE classes, because that’s essentially what they are. It’s especially annoying to me to know that these glorified PE classes are part of a very expensive education.
I believe that lifetime fitness classes should remain an option for students, but for those of us who are already fit and have a schedule that really doesn’t allow for extraneous classes, they should not be a requirement.
Jenna Press is a junior journalism and professional writing double major from Ramstein, Germany. She is a copy editor for the Lariat.