Students share their remote exercise class experiences

Some students raise concerns, while others enjoy the stress relief

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This image was created by Camille Jessie through Canva using Sketchify elements.

Briana Munoz, Staff Reporter

For some students, physical fitness classes are out of the question due to the lack of equipment and in-person help. Others have taken up the challenge of enrolling into online fitness classes. For a Cal State LA graduate student, the disconnect of a virtual classroom allegedly resulted in a fractured rib during the online fitness class she was taking this semester.

“I fractured my rib because” the class was practicing supported exercises related to that sport, said the student. “I feel if we were doing that in-person, the professor would have been like ‘Oh, you know what? That’s actually not a good surface for you to use.’”

The student did not want her name included for fear of losing her student employment with the university. To be clear, the university policy does not bar student assistants from speaking up: “When speaking or writing as citizens [faculty and staff] should be free from censorship but should recognize that the public may judge… the university by their utterances. The faculty and staff are encouraged to respond to media inquiries.”

The student’s professor acknowledged her injury and provided her with alternative activities she could do to pass the course.

Despite a phone call and an email, the university and the Dean of Students were unable to be reached to provide a comment on this matter.

Like other departments at Cal State LA, the kinesiology department’s courses have shifted to a virtual structure that required some sacrifices while still prioritizing the importance of students’ physical activity.

Stephen Gonzalez, a lecturer and physical activity instruction coordinator at Cal State LA, is looking forward to having physical activity programs return to the face-to-face format and offering over 100 courses once again.

“Right now we’re only offering about 20 courses online,” said Gonzalez. “We knew that we couldn’t safely offer classes like archery, swim, golf, or tennis. These would be more challenging since students don’t have the proper equipment or the facilities.”

Although there are fewer courses, students still have plenty of options to choose from. Psychology major Destiny Mendoza opted to enroll in a cardio kickboxing course as she wraps up her last semester at Cal State LA.

“I think a class like this would definitely be a lot better in person because with most workout classes there’s that energy that you feed off of people,” said Mendoza. “But my professor still does a good job at making everyone feel like we’re in class, she plays her music loudly and wears a headset so the experience is still there.”

Mendoza’s kickboxing class encourages students to be on-camera as they warm-up together to prepare for the cardio-based jabs and punches.

Gonzalez, the physical activity coordinator, believes that staying physically active provides plenty of benefits for students and faculty, as they deal with a remote learning environment combined with the stress of academia.

“[Exercising] helps students to relieve stress. It also benefits in keeping our immune systems strong. It actually enhances cognitive functioning, so students are able to think a lot more clearly,” said Gonzalez. “It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a gym and you need to do push-ups, we’re talking about just maybe a brisk walk or going out and throwing a frisbee with your friends.”

Cal State LA’s WellBeingU offers various resources for students looking to destress or improve their mental and physical health. They currently offer relaxation breathing exercises, “Wellness Week” from April 12 to April 16, and other events.