Roosevelt gym working out for Columbia students, staff

By The Columbia Chronicle

Kelly Woyan

Staff Writer

No more excuses. Lack of money is no longer a good reason for you to not hit the gym this fall. You can now afford your own personal trainer. You can now afford to take aerobics, yoga and tai chi classes. You also can afford circuit weight machines, treadmills, stairmasters, row machines and even your own basketball court. How? By paying tuition to Columbia College.

Since last semester, Columbia students have had full access to Roosevelt University’s gym at 425 S. Wabash on the fourth floor. The facility has treadmills, stationary bicycles, free weights, a Nordic Trak, a row machine and a variety of fitness and aerobic classes. There’s even a full-basketball court that can easily be converted into a volleyball court.

Students not only have unlimited access to this facility free of charge, but they also can consult with an on-site certified personal trainer. The trainer, Mark Brtichevich, happens to also be the personal trainer of Columbia College president, John Duff.

In fact, it was the idea of Duff and Brtichevich to develop a fitness facility five years ago. Unfortunately, none of Columbia’s buildings had the capacity to hold a fitness facility. But in 1991, Roosevelt built a gym that apparently wasn’t getting too much use. Finally, Roosevelt University and Columbia College penned a deal that allowed only full-time Columbia faculty to use the facility.

Two years later, part-time Columbia staff was allowed usage of the gym. But now all Columbia students can use the gym. All they have to do is show up ready to work out.

It’s crucial that students start taking control of their health. Sixty percent of American adults are not regularly physically active and twenty-five percent of all adults do nothing at all. Yes, we have heard it all before. Physical activity reduces the risk of premature mortality in general. But it does much more than just that. It also reduces risk of heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer and diabetes. Exercise takes care of that little bug called stress too.

Brtichevich says that many students who walk into the facility are not fitness buffs. “Most kids in here I would treat as cardiac cripples more than anything else. The problem is kids at that age think they’re indestructible.”

Brtichevich also says statistics show young adults under 22 years old are the most out-of-shape age group in the United States right now. Some Columbia students prove his theory to be true.

Columbia student Veronica Calvo said even if she did have access to a free fitness facility, she still wouldn’t work out. “I really don’t have the time,” says Calvo. Another student says he isn’t sure if he would work out. “I don’t know. I doubt it,” says student Derek Kemp.

But not all students are jaded to the idea of fitness. Senior Nicole McClearn says she is excited about the new facility and wishes she’d known about it earlier this year. She says, “I wish I knew about it because I would definitely use it between classes.”

Now is as good a time as ever to start a fitness program — especially with the holidays around the corner. Everyone knows what a little of this and a little of that can do to one’s body. Brtichevich reminds students to be aware that regular exercise should be considered as an overall lifestyle change.

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