On campus health program delivers physical and social benefit

Hailey De La Vara

Arts and Entertainment Editor


For one nationally recognized health program at Ohio Wesleyan the social rewards can be on par with the physical benefits.

FitOWU, aka “Noon Fit,” is a wellness and training program taught by OWU students that is available to current and retired OWU faculty, staff and others on campus.

And the American College of Sports Medicine recently recognized the program, qualifying it for the Exercise is Medicine designation, a global health initiative to make physical activity assessment a standard in clinical care.

Nancy Knop, a former professor of health and human kinetics, started the program in 2004. Andrew Busch, an assistant professor in health and human kinetics, took the reins of the program in 2016.

The goal of FitOWU is to provide many types of fitness programs throughout the academic year at a minimum $30 semester fee, regardless of the participants’ fitness level. About 45-50 people are taking advantage of the program this semester.

Busch said the program is more than just a fitness resource, it also has a big social aspect.

“We have an intermediate group that is made up of all women and some of them have been coming since the start,” he said. “They enjoy it so much because they get to see each other an extra three times per week.

Classes include resistance training, which meet at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  FitOWU also offers yoga, swimming and cycling classes.

For student trainers, the program is an upper-level health and human kinetics course and usually two trainers manage each fitness group level.

Junior trainer Xavier Sarver thinks the program is just as beneficial to students as it is to faculty.

“Being a trainer of FitOWU gives us a chance to interact with the faculty and the locals and they are helping us just as much as we are helping them,” Sarver said.

Students have some leniency in creating workouts for the participants, so they can get a feel for being accountable to their clientele, and they are assessed as the training takes place, Busch said.

”During the first half of the semester I give the students the training recipe and by the second half of the semester they get more leniency with adapting their own workout movements into their teachings,” he said.

Senior trainer Emily VanDermark said the program gives students the chance to put themselves in a real work environment.

“It’s a nice way to put yourself in a professional environment without having to go out and apply for an internship or job,” VanDermark said.