This class was made for walking

Vince Peluso

A unique course at Kent State offers students the opportunity to literally strut their stuff

This semester ACSM Certified Health Fitness Instructor, Liz Fettrow, is instructing a class called Fitness Walking. Wednesday afternoon, the class activity was to walk on the treadmills at an incline. Shaye Painter | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

While courses like calculus, algebra and college writing may cause headaches for many students, a class like Fitness Walking stands out. It’s an hour-long departure from the typical academic grind that Liz Fettrow believes goes far beyond just simply, well, walking.

Fettrow teaches Fitness Walking on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:20 p.m. to 4:10 p.m. at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. She said she believes the class has a lot to offer students.

“You’re walking, but you’re not just leisurely ambling like you would around campus,” she said. “You’re walking for fitness; you’re walking for the cardiovascular benefit. You’re really trying to get your heart rate up and your muscles going. It’s not just like a walk in the park.”

Fettrow structures the class around the individual goals of her students. Students write goal sheets at the beginning of the semester, and they keep journals to monitor their progress throughout the course.

Fettrow said she understands not all students are going to be in the same physical condition, and she is not going to penalize those who aren’t as physically fit as others.

“The goal sheets are done at the beginning of the semester and at the end of the semester,” she said. “We log our journals, and our assessment is a one-mile time. We measure how fast students did at the beginning of the semester, the middle of the semester and the end of the semester. Ideally, my students are expected to decrease their one-mile time, but at the same time it won’t penalize them if they don’t decrease their time. You get out of this class what you put into it. You are compared against yourselves, not against what other classmates are doing.”

Ben Wallace, a sophomore business major, said when he saw Fitness Walking was a class he became intrigued. Searching for another credit, and admittedly an easy course, he thought he’d give it a shot.

He said he didn’t exactly know what he was getting himself into.

“I was just looking for an easy ‘A’ and another credit hour,” Wallace said. “I figured it would be easy because it was just walking, but it’s honestly been harder than I expected. She works us pretty hard. My shins are always sore after class.”

Fettrow puts her students through a variety of workouts in the class, including alternating walking speeds between fast pace and recovery pace, walking without the use of arms for 15 minutes then walking for 15 minutes as fast as possible with the use of arms, and walking with the use of resistance bands wrapped around a student’s waists.

Even beyond the workouts, Fettrow said she believes the class helps promote a healthier lifestyle.

“I think a lot of students stay after class and work out because they are already here,” she said. “And that’s a good thing. That helps with the overall fitness of their lives.”

Wallace said he worked out fairly regularly before he had the class, but now that he’s at the rec center twice a week, he works out more often.

“Because I’m already there it makes it a lot easier,” he said. “I like to work out, but sometimes it’s hard to walk all the way over there. Since I’m already there I figure I might as well go down to the weight room and do some more since I already got my cardio in.”

The most important thing to Fettrow is that the class doesn’t become a source of stress for her students.

“It’s a fun class,” she said. “I never liked just sitting in a classroom and listening to lectures. I don’t want this to be a ‘stresser.’ I want this to be a stress-reliever; a class that promotes a healthy living style and exercise. And hopefully while you’re here you make some friends.”

Contact Health, Education and Human Services reporter Vince Peluso at [email protected].