Viewpoint: Let’s retake lifetime fitness

I like to run. Never in a million years did I think I would ever utter these words. In middle and high school, I played as many sports as I could – volleyball, basketball and various track and field events. Even though I have always been athletic, I never really enjoyed the act of aimlessly running without an immediate task to accomplish. It’s one thing to run for a full game of basketball or to compete with teammates in a relay race, but it’s a whole other beast to sweat and heave for the sake of doing so. I’ve never liked running, and I had always thought I never would.

But then lifetime fitness happened.

Last semester I registered for the aerobic running class, thinking I would just have to make myself suffer through the worst lifetime fitness option because there was no other class that fit into my schedule. Long story short, I took the class, got a heck of a lot better at running, and now I actually enjoy the activity. It showed me that I was more than capable of training for something and seeing myself improve over time, and it was much more of as stress reliever that I thought it would be.

The sad part of all of this is that I can’t take this class ever again – at least not for a credit. I contacted Baylor’s health department to see if I could get approval to retake the class because it was again one of the only classes that fit into my schedule. I’m on crunch time for graduation and thought I’d try to take two fitness classes at once. Unfortunately, I was denied. I’m condemned to the subpar workouts offered in classes like bowling. But I don’t think that actually makes much sense.

Every student that comes through Baylor is required to earn fitness credits, and a good number of them don’t want to or never take aerobic running. As an unpopular yet easy-to-teach course, there are always more classes available than needed. This means several spots in the course go unfilled every semester. The same goes for other aerobic classes. Why not let students who actually want to be in those classes take those spots?

I understand the health department’s hesitation to let students retake courses. Imagine the monopolization of volleyball and yoga classes that would happen. That’s why I think the department should change its “no double credit” policy to allow students to earn double credits for retaking one of the five least popular fitness courses. This would mean classes like aerobic walking or rest and relaxation would be offered to the greatest number of students possible, while other classes like running or aerobics would be kept open for students who actually want to be there.

If students are being forced to exercise in order to graduate, it’s only fair to let them enjoy the obligation as much as possible. And let’s be honest, I’m going to get more of an exercise out of running than I will from rolling a bowling ball into some pins. Isn’t fitness the point of a lifetime fitness class?

Rae Jefferson is a junior journalism major from Houston. She is the arts and entertainment editor and a regular columnist for the Lariat.