The ancient college student adage--“I’m too busy to exercise”--is no longer valid thanks to an initiative started by Memphis Healthy U called, “Midday Moves.”
Every weekday at 12:30 p.m., students gather in the central courtyard near the University Center to exercise for 15 to 20 minutes.
“President Martin wanted an exercise program students could do daily so we came up with Midday Moves,” said Jasmine Ellis, student coordinator of Midday Moves and sports and leisure commerce graduate student. “The reason it is just a quick 15 to 20 minutes is so faculty and students can get lunch, change into their gym clothes, get a workout and run to class.”
Midday Moves has a motley assortment of exercise programs to fit every student’s preference. Monday and Tuesday can be anything from dancing to aerobics to intramural teams hosting a game. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the classes usually focus on workouts like Tai Chi, Yoga or a step show.
“Sometimes the different colleges or departments host exercise classes,” said Bianca Jackson, a public health graduate student and host of the Midday Moves event. “We are trying to get different companies and corporations to sponsor classes.”
The Frisbee intramural team hosted an ultimate Frisbee game during their session, and the administration building is sponsoring a beach day where every activity is “any game you would see on the beach” including corn toss and Frisbee.
“The classes can be something as whimsical as dancing or as serious as mindful body awareness movements, which is something the counseling center put on,” Ellis said.
A big advantage to the Midday Moves exercise classes is that all the equipment is provided on scene, including the mats for the yoga classes and the medicine balls for the strength workouts. Ellis and Jackson also provide upbeat popular music to get students motivated.
“We try to make our workouts something everyone can do, from those in wheelchairs to those with health problems, we try not to exclude anyone,” Ellis said. “They pay for the recreation center services just like everyone else, so we have an obligation to accommodate them.”
Ellis also noted how skilled and talented the various instructors were.
“Steve Black, our yoga instructor, is very credible. I feel like I get the same coaching and training as if I went to an actual studio,” she said.
The news of Midday Moves is definitely spreading throughout campus. Ellis and Jackson said they have a few regulars that come every day, and some faculty members have said this is the first time they have exercised on campus in nearly 30 years.
“We are changing how people live their lives, we have received e-mails from people who are taking their workouts to their churches and encouraging family members to participate with them,” Ellis said. “You never know how this extra movement could spark a change in someone’s lifestyle.”
Nicaira Brown, a business administration major and first-time Midday Moves participant, said she was very impressed with the event.
“I love to dance so it was fun to be able to do that and meet other people on campus,” Brown said. “I also think it is great way to get fit and stay in shape, and also have fun.”