F ive members of the CSUN community have created a proposal for a fitness course on campus that would allow all members of the CSUN community to better their health.
Professor Steven Loy of the Department of Kinesiology is involved with the groups that are organizing the parcourse on campus.
“It’s a way of bringing activity to our community,” Loy said.
Loy said it “creates a sense of community that we don’t seem to have enough of.’
Parcourses used to be in parks in the early 1970s and were designed to provide park goers with different stations to do stretches in order to strengthen their bodies while walking or jogging. Because of the increased use of treadmills and other home exercise equipment, parcourses lost their popularity during the mid 1980s.
Loy said since CSUN is a commuter campus, many people lose time they might normally spend on exercise by traveling.
For faculty and staff, there have been research programs related to exercise that they have participated in, but Loy said once the research project ended, they would stop exercising.
“They needed encouragement as well as the rest of the population,” Loy said.
As for students, their offerings for exercise on campus are kinesiology classes or the Fitness Center. The kinesiology classes may not be a viable option for students, Loy said, because it may not fit into their schedule. He also said the problem with the Fitness Center is that it’s not open all the time and it’s not free.
“Students have become prone to a life of lesser activity,” Loy said. The parcourse is something students, faculty and staff could participate in easily.
Junior marketing major Chris Cratty said he wouldn’t use the parcourse but “it would be a good thing” to have on campus and it would be good for other students. Cratty said he goes to a gym and that is how he does his weekly exercise.
“Not everyone can afford a gym membership to the Fitness Center and not everyone likes to go to the gym,” Cratty said.
Another benefit of the parcourse Loy is stressing for PPM staff is a decrease in workers compensation costs. Loy said the PPM staff could use the equipment to stretch and it may loosen up tight muscles that could get injured while on the job.
Loy, who has been a professor at CSUN since 1987, said the CSUN community could use the parcourse during breaks or on their way to their car. He said if the parcourse is put on campus, then it would be continuously available.
“It’s going to be there,” Loy said. The parcourse would be easily accessible and people could make it a part of their day, he said.
Exercising more would not only benefit the health of the CSUN community, Loy said, but it also “makes you aware of other things as well, such as eating better.” He said it would make people think “What other things am I doing that I can improve?”
Loy has started other activities on campus such as the YOU@Half Dome. Students, faculty and staff start the program in October/November by walking one mile around CSUN. As time goes, the walks get progressively longer and more strenuous. Then, in June, the group hikes to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.
The estimated cost of the entire project is $188,807. Loy said he doesn’t necessarily want to ask for the money but rather have everyone donate to it since everyone will be using it. He said that if the cost was split up between all the students at CSUN, the cost would be about $4 per student.
Jyll Stevens, senior deaf studies major, said if the cost of the parcourse was only a few dollars and it was tacked on to tuition fees it wouldn’t be a problem for her.
Stevens said although she “swims twice per week for two hours” and she walks everywhere, she might use the parcourse if it was available.
Loy envisions only having one parcourse put on campus because having more would take away the walking element, which could be part of the daily exercise.
Loy anticipates the parcourse would be constructed on the north side of Redwood Hall and the Abbott and Linda Brown Western Center for Adaptive Aquatic Therapy. There’s a strip of grass on the North Field that is unused and would be a prime location for the parcourse.
Loy said they would have a time where someone would be on the parcourse teaching people how to use the equipment properly and how using the equipment would benefit them. Loy called the parcourse an “outdoor classroom” and said it is cheaper than building new classrooms.Loy said the parcourse would be a “valuable asset to the community.” He would hope to introduce the parcourse through the Freshman 100 classes, at the dorms and encourage the departments to tell the staff about it.
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