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New fitness opportunities help students begin semester strong

One Oklahoma Christian University organization is taking initiative to help students meet their fitness goals this semester.

Eagles Health Initiative, a co-curricular organization on campus, is partnering with TeamOC to design a fitness challenge to encourage students to pursue healthy goals this semester. Former EHI president and founding member Jackson Higginbottom said the group wanted to put more emphasis on physical health.

“We thought that we had focused so much on mental health and more awareness issues for mental health that it would be really good to start a program that encouraged exercise as well as combining some of these other areas,” Higginbottom said.

According to Higginbottom, TeamOC wanted to organize a challenge like this for students in the past, but lacked the necessary time and resources. However, after EHI members suggested the idea, TeamOC decided to collaborate.

Originally, Higginbottom said they planned to accept 25 students as part of a pilot program, but after having the application open for two weeks they received 103 applications. Due to the overwhelming response, they expanded the program to accommodate a larger group of participants.

“We have had an incredible response,” Jan Bian, current EHI president, said. “This is extremely encouraging because it means our students already understand the importance of regular exercise and healthy eating.”

Bian said she hopes students will emphasize exercise and healthy eating throughout their busy schedules. She also said she believes this will not only improve students’ mental and physical health, but also teach them to better handle stress in college.

Although the program is designed to include all classifications, majors and genders, Bian said she noticed there seemed to be more of an interest from female students than male students.

During the 10-week program, the fitness trainer will first meet with participants, who are expected to complete a minimum of five hours of fitness per week. Students will track their required 8,000 steps per day, or 56,000 steps per week, using the provided fitness bands. They will complete one fitness challenge each week and participate in the Iron Baby Triathlon or the Choose Your K run.

Bian said her favorite aspect of the program is the private training sessions. According to Bian, these private sessions will be especially beneficial to participants.

“We will also have private training sessions with professional trainers, who will teach students how to exercise and help them formulate their own fitness routines,” Bian said. “I am most excited for the private training sessions because I think these will have a lasting impact on our students.”

Professor of psychology and family studies Tina Winn previously participated in the university’s annual fitness challenge for faculty members. Winn said the program aligns with the EHI’s core mission.

“On the faculty end I’ve done the fitness challenge, so I’m excited that now students are going to get to do it too,” Winn said. “I think it’s an excellent fit for EHI and the goals of EHI.”

Winn said the response raised awareness of the specific needs on the Oklahoma Christian campus related to physical well-being among students.

“I think it’s a great thing because I think it shows the interest and the need, and then helps us as a university figure out where we need to put some resources so we can meet those needs,” Winn said.

While the main goal of the fitness challenge is aiding students’ on their road to getting fit, it is not the only goal of the challenge. According to Winn, the program offers more than physical training.

“By going through the fitness challenge, not only will they get physically fit, but will learn some other life skills and some tools that they can use later in life,” Winn said.

Bian said EHI has worked with TeamOC in the past and are in the process of planning other free fitness events later this semester. Bian said she encourages students to stay aware of the events EHI offers.

“We would love to keep doing this program every semester,” Bian said. “With the overwhelming response that we received this time, I think it is very likely that we will continue partnering with TeamOC and SGA to bring this program to students on campus.”

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