Wellness Opportunities at Community Colleges

Learn about the different opportunities for improving your health and wellness at community college.
Whether you’re a student trying to balance the demands of community college classes, or if you are a professional or stay at home parent wanting to find out about how to better take care of yourself, community colleges across the country have developed popular programs for physical, emotional, and personal well being. 
 
Nutrition, Health, and Cooking
 
As a hobby, or even as a career path, students can enroll in a wide variety of food-based courses. Some of these classes may provide more insight into the science of the human body and nutrition, while other courses may focus on lessons for cooking, food preparation, and beyond. 
 
For example, San Diego Community College in California offers a wide range of class options for career or continuing-education students, including classes such as “Professional Bakeshop Skills,” “Bread Making,” and “Catering.” Here, students will learn about pastry, basic culinary skills, and the science behind the art of baking. Also, students can take the “Eat For a Healthy Lifestyle” course, which encompasses the entire realm of healthiness, from the physiological standpoint to menu planning. 
 
Other courses offered at San Diego Community College focus on learning about the diversity of food, such as in their “Ethnic/Regional Foods” class, which focuses on preparing a variety of ethnic and regional foods by learning about “ingredients, food preparation techniques and traditions of differing cultures. The course includes recipe adaptation to achieve maximum nutrition.” And for more cooking classes, students can enroll in “Time Saving Cooking” or even “Menu Planning/Menu Planning Basics.”
 
Fitness Opportunities
 
Dance Classes
 
For adults or young students looking to learn more about a particular sport, physical activity, or for individuals who just want to get out and exercise, community colleges are a great venue for interaction and activity. For example, South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona, offers a wide range of physical classes—among the most popular are the dance and aerobics courses. Here, students can try out “dance classes in salsa, ballroom, and even the Texas two-step, and many other types of dance classes.” 
 
Yoga and Pilates
 
And if dancing isn’t what students are looking for, then South Mountain—along with community colleges across the country—also offers exercise classes like Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi. According to Ann Pizer, Yoga is more than just the common perception of a stretching exercise. Moreover, “yoga is really about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility. This is done through the performance of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession […] or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the pose.” 
 
Pilates, on the other hand, according to Margurite Ogle, is “a form of exercise, developed by Joseph Pilates, which emphasizes the balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility, and awareness in order to support efficient, graceful movement.” Pilates often involves a variety of methods and instructional techniques, but ultimately strives to focus on an overall improvement of core muscles in the body. “The core muscles are the deep, internal muscles of the abdomen and back. When the core muscles are strong and doing their job, as they are trained to do in Pilates, they work in tandem with the more superficial muscles of the trunk to support the spine and movement.”
 
Independent Exercise
 
And for people looking to work out independently, or to try out a variety of group fitness courses, many community colleges provide local residents with access to public fitness centers. Here, individuals can take advantage of work-out equipment such as cardiovascular machines, weight training equipment, flexibility mats, and perhaps even free weights. Group fitness is often offered on-site at these locations.
 
Meditation and Well-Being
 
For unique avenues of interest, many community colleges offer mediation courses, philosophy classes, spirituality and religion classes, and even more specific areas of focus, such as aromatherapy. North Seattle Community College, in Washington, is one of the many community colleges across the country offering programs in this field, particularly focusing on the ancient art of aromatherapy.
 
Aromatherapy
 
Whether students are simply interested, or are feeling stressed, uninspired, or overwhelmed, North Seattle’s aromatherapy class will “teach you how to take better care of yourself and loved ones with ancient wisdom of aromatherapy.” In addition, from a professional standpoint, you can learn how to create your own aromatherapy products, which are great from the entrepreneur student. These types of courses are an accessible and affordable outlet for personal interest and betterment, while also providing students with hands-on activities and interactive discussions. 
 
Tai Chi
 
Similar to Yoga and Pilates in subtle ways, many individuals pursue the practice of Tai Chi as an opportunity to mediate, relax, and connect. As Phylameana Lila Desy explains, “The practice of Tai Chi promotes the circulation of chi or life energy within the body, encouraging wellness and vitality of the person. Tai Chi benefits both genders and people of all ages.” Available at most community colleges, Tai Chi is a popular course option that allows students of diverse physical and age backgrounds to study the art of this ancient practice. 
 
From what you eat to how you exercise, community colleges are an excellent resource for improving your overall wellness. Whether you are a continuing education or full-time career student, adding these affordable courses into your schedule will help you achieve greater relaxation and health.
 
References:
 
 
Ogle, Margurite, “What is the Pilates Method of Exercise?” April 9, 2008, available at http://pilates.about.com/od/whatispilates/a/WhatIsPilates.htm
 
 
Pizer, Ann, “What is Yoga” November 26, 2007, available at http://yoga.about.com/od/beginningyoga/a/whatisyoga.htm
 
 

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