Owens: P.E. classes are a fun way to get your exercise in

Oregon sophomore Andy Werderman throws a football on the rec fields outside of the Student Recreational Center on Sunday, March 8, 2015. (Cole Elsasser/Emerald)

In high school, physical education classes were always a pain. The students weren’t excited to be there, the activities weren’t fun and the coaches had no idea what they were talking about. People took exactly what was required and then tried their best to stay out of those smelly locker rooms as much as possible before graduating. Well P.E. classes in college aren’t required, and that makes the dynamic more interesting because the coaches and students actually want to be there.

We all know how hard it can be to make ourselves shut down Netflix, roll off the couch and get some exercise, but having a scheduled class forces you to get up and workout. It seems that everyone wants to be in good shape, but, as most of us know, not everyone has the will power to get there.

The physical education department at the University of Oregon offers over 160 activity courses each term, which can be taken for credit or non-credit. These P.E. courses are not just for people who have played sports for their whole lives; it is for anyone of any fitness or skill level. With so many different courses, students can choose to gain wilderness survival skills, work on speed and agility, learn how to meditate or participate in many other fitness-based activities.

Exercising is good for your health in more ways than just staying in shape. It can help reduce stress and get your mind off of your academic workload. Taking a P.E. class will give you a scheduled “break” twice a week where all you have to think about is the sport you’re playing and nothing else.

In P.E. classes, you have the chance to interact with your classmates differently than you do in a lecture setting. Cathy Nelson, the volleyball instructor at the UO, enjoys seeing friendly competition in her classes. “I always try to mix my classes up so everybody gets to know each other,” Nelson said. “In volleyball, it’s a team sport, so you have to work together and if you get a good set you go slap each other’s hands. It’s easy to develop personal relationships.”

Some students choose to take PE classes because they know the coaches will be able to help them get better at their sport. Many coaches at the UO have been playing and coaching their sport their entire lives, some even on the professional level.

Tracy Mok, junior accounting major, has had positive experiences with P.E. classes because of the coaching staff. “I took volleyball I and II because I’ve played volleyball for six years and wanted to continue playing and improving my volleyball skills,” Mok said. “Cathy is great, so that’s why I continued taking more volleyball classes with her.”

Prior to this year, we had a large array of P.E. classes being offered, but with the recent renovation of the Student Recreation Center, more new classes are being offered such as water polo and water fitness in the new pool. No matter where your skill level is, most P.E. classes have multiple levels so you can jump in wherever you want. Then, if you like where you are, you can repeat each class twice for credit.

P.E. classes at the UO are not graded, but up to 12 P.E. credits can be applied to a bachelor’s degree. When taking classes for credit, you pay $60 per credit, take the class as pass/no pass, are required to do some form of assignment or test and cannot miss more than four classes in a term.

If that sounds like too much of a requirement, any class that can be taken for credit can also be taken for non-credit. For these, you pay a flat rate of $100 that covers the cost of instruction, equipment and everything else. You get to decide for yourself if you want to go to each class or not.

There is also a new program where the rec center is going to offer five classes that are completely non-credit, called FLEX courses. These courses include crossfit, yoga, life guarding and yardwork circuits. Peg Rees, the associate director of physical education at the UO, is excited about the new courses that the new rec center allows the department to offer. “No assignments, no tests, no mandatory attendance and, of course, they cost less,” Rees said. “We are hoping that is going to be a new, attractive option for students.”

Follow Tanner Owens on Twitter @T_Owens21

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