Issue 433: 9 / 24 / 2012

Southwest’s Fitness and Wellness Program Continues to Thrive

Cheryl Green (left) conducts a ...

Cheryl Green (left) conducts a weight training class on the Union Avenue Campus.

Green (right) leads employees in ...

Green (right) leads employees in a robust cardio workout.

This is the first of a two-part feature on the expansion of Southwest’s Fitness and Wellness program under the direction of Cheryl Green, who now coordinates the program following the recent retirement of Associate Professor of Education Neal Cordel. Over the past two years, Cordell spearheaded the development of the 24-hour fitness facilities at the Macon Cove and Union Avenue campuses. Cooking classes, weight loss competitions, and health awareness seminars were some of the activities the program offered to motivate the Southwest community to choose a healthy lifestyle.

The program continues to thrive under the leadership of Green, a fitness buff. “I feel very blessed that my parents laid a foundation that allowed me to grow up seeing physical activity as important, and understanding the importance of eating a balanced diet. … My parents made sacrifices to pay tuition so I could attend the University of Chicago's Laboratory School. … The physical education rotation at the University of Chicago consisted of swimming, gymnastics, and games – I grew up seeing swimming and gymnastics as normal activities for every child.”

Green holds Group Exercise and Health/Fitness Instructor Certifications through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). She studied psychology and exercise science at the University of Miami in Florida, played seasonal intramural sports, participated in aerobics and worked as a consultant for a popular weight loss program. “My job entailed three components: helping people figure out how many calories they should consume for their weight loss or weight management goals; directing them to pre-packaged products to help them get started with their goal; and teaching nutrition classes to help clients manage their weight loss or weight management goals with foods that can be purchased at any grocery store, or while dining out,” Green said.

Regarding healthier eating, Green’s father believed that pork was the culprit behind a lot of hypertension on his side of the family, so her mother fed them a diet mostly of beef and minimal fried foods. “I believe my parents' decision to not have pork products in our home and not to fry most meats has, at least, in part, contributed to the fact that my blood pressure reading typically runs less than 110/70,” she stated.

Green has held a series of jobs and was involved in multiple activities centered on nutrition and fitness which, no doubt, contribute to the continual success and results Southwest employees enjoy in the college’s Fitness and Wellness Program. Her goals for 2012 -2013 are to:

  • Explore ways that the Fitness and Wellness Program can help with student retention and engagement goals. “I understand that some colleagues are uncomfortable with the idea of exercising with students, while others welcome the opportunity. I am considering the idea of a one-time back-to-school student/faculty/employee Zumbathon, or a student/faculty/employee boot camp. Years of leading group fitness classes that require me to work out with students has shown me that students still respect faculty and employees who exercise with them as the professionals we are; and they tend to see us as positive examples and more approachable when we engage in activities with them," commented Green.
  • Develop daily yoga classes. “Midday yoga classes will help anyone who participates be more energetic and focused, while reducing or aiding in the prevention of hypertension and a plethora of health issues,” said Green.
  • Consistently offer a variety of fitness classes. “Many colleagues enjoy the boot camp classes and others have requested lower impact classes, and yet others enjoy Zumba classes. “I would like to keep a section of each format available on both main campuses for colleagues,”Green stated.
  • Offer at least two workshops (one on each campus) that include nutrition and recreational sports information.
  • Ensure the exercise equipment is sanitary and is functional.

Southwest employees’ response to the Fitness and Wellness program has been remarkable. Next week the Scoop will feature some of their comments in part two.