Recreation and Wellness Center provides many offerings that foster mental health

Published: September 29, 2020
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Auburn University’s Recreation and Wellness Center is providing many classes and other offerings this fall that support the mental health of students, faculty and staff amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is a correlation between physical fitness and social wellness and mental wellness. All of that kind of ties in together,” said Christy Coleman, an assistant director of group fitness at Auburn’s Recreation and Wellness Center. “Our classes give people an opportunity to connect, which is also part of our mental health. I think having an opportunity to work out and to relax and to connect your mind with your body through the breath that a lot of our yoga and Pilates classes offer allows that opportunity for students to unwind.”

In addition to yoga and Pilates, Auburn’s group fitness program also offers stretch, walking, mind/body and High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, classes.

“I feel like for me and for a lot of our students and faculty and staff, in order to really get along in this crazy time, in order to really enjoy life as we used to know it, you need to schedule your fitness opportunities,” Coleman said.

On Mondays, the center offers a free “Virtual Body Stretch 30” class at 3 p.m. and a free “Virtual Mindful Monday/Meditation 30” class at 4 p.m. The Recreation and Wellness Center collaborates with the campus’ Student Counseling and Psychological Services office for the Mindful Monday course, which is led by certified counselors who specialize in mediation and mindfulness. As for mind/body offerings, there are live in-person and live virtual yoga classes as well as Pilates throughout the week, Mondays through Fridays and on Sundays.

There also is a Trek the Plex walking class at the new Campus Recreation Sportsplex on Lem Morrison Drive Mondays through Thursdays. That class allows participants to connect while safely walking a one-mile trail. Class leaders offer fun physical and mental challenges and facilitate stimulating conversation along the way.

For more high intensity workouts, there also are the “Virtual HIIT 30” and “Virtual HIIT 45” classes as well as a live “HIIT 30” and “Insanity 50” class.

“We understand that some people need high intensity interval training to release stress and pent-up energy,” Coleman said. “Whether it’s a 30-minute class or up to 50 minutes, these classes offer a tough workout for those who need to sweat it out.”

And for something more relaxed, the Recreation and Wellness Center even has a meditation garden, where students and others can listen to a fountain or read a book.

“We have the Livingston Courtyard where students or anyone can go and just relax,” Coleman said.

Coleman said there are so many ways to get involved at the recreation center to alleviate stress, and she hopes students, faculty and staff will take advantage of the opportunity.

“We try to accommodate anybody who is dealing with stress, whether they need a relaxation kind of class or they need something to kind of get the energy out of their system,” she said, adding that “making time for yourself for self-care is probably number one on the Top 10 list of things you can do to cope and deal with the stress that's around you this semester.”

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.