Fitness center at SBCC encourages exercise through classes, open labs

Joan+Gao+works+on+deadlift+Position+and+stance+under+direction+of+Andrew+Arnopole+on+Friday%2C+Dec.+6%2C+2019%2C+in+the+Life+Fitness+Center+at+City+College+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.

Jesus Villafranco Perez

Joan Gao works on deadlift Position and stance under direction of Andrew Arnopole on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, in the Life Fitness Center at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Robert J. Gormish, Staff Writer

The Life Fitness Center has been dedicated to physical fitness education and movement skill-building at City College for over 18 years. 

The LFC offers students and athletes exercise programs that can help them develop healthier behaviors, and has served as a hub for physical education and development since it opened its doors in summer 2001.

“Our goal is to help students to find a pathway to living an active life that is supported by healthy lifestyle behaviors,” said Life Fitness program director Ellen O’ Connor.  

O’Connor believes the program helps students get active through teaching “physical literacy”.

“Everyone should have a basic understanding of how their body works and how to proactively care for it,” said O’Connor. “Access to quality education, including physical and health education, is a pathway towards that important goal.”   

The LFC offers numerous programs such as traditionally structured semester-long classes and open entry/open lab courses. Traditionally structured classes include weight training and core fitness training and are offered Monday through Thursday from 8 to 11 a.m. 

The Life Fitness program functions as an open lab on Mondays through Thursdays from 11a.m. to 8 p.m., on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students can take one of several open entry/open lab courses and come into the LFC during the open lab hours to work on the course curriculum.  

“The LFC is an awesome place that offers great exercise programs that can help take the stress from being in the classroom all day,” said LFC student Johanna Hedefur. 

Students who engage in physical education will maintain a healthier lifestyle than those who don’t, said O’Connor.

“Studies demonstrate that students who engage in physical education activity in college maintain a more active lifestyle and have reduced risk for chronic illness than students who do not participate in physical education classes,” she said. 

The only advice O’Connor has for students that are joining the course is learning to manage time.  

“I’m always happy to help students to be more active. The first thing I told my students is to plan your schedule as “me time,’” she said.  

O’Connor believes that understanding and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is fundamental to development. 

“I view physical literacy as a basic skill on par with reading, writing and mathematics. Movement and health education are key to living a long life free from chronic disease and pain,” said O’Connor. 

O’Connor’s goal for her students is for them to improve their health and fitness by using basic techniques. 

Lifestyle diseases account for over 50% of deaths and can be reduced significantly by engaging in a healthy lifestyle, she said.

“Honestly I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t join the LFC. It has taught me how to take care of my body and it helps to live with healthier habits,” said Hedefur.