By Hannah Stafford, News Editor

Students wishing to be involved in group fitness programs on campus now have even more opportunities to do so, thanks to a recent partnership between Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary (ATS). This agreement between the schools will allow students to participate in all ATS fitness programs and university programs with a single membership.

Kevin Bellew, dean of wholeness and wellness at the university, believes these programs will benefit Asbury’s efforts to promote holistic wellness.

“These classes provide additional opportunities to use our bodies as they were intended while connecting with others in the process,” said Bellew. “Research continues to demonstrate how beneficial exercise is to the body (physical health) and mind (mental health) and therefore should be considered a primary form of healthcare. We know that exercise improves immune system functioning as well as lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression.”

The classes, offered at a variety of times Monday through Saturday, include aerobics, Zumba, yoga, spinning, running and concentrated muscle groups, such as abs. Also included is “Mindfullness-based Stress Reduction,” a free class led by Bellew to be held once a week in the Luce Center. The purpose of this class is to help the participants slow down through the practice of mindfulness meditation, relaxation breathing, guided imagery and centering prayer.

Though this class does not seem to fit the category of fitness, Bellew believes that mental, emotional and physical wellness are all intricately related.

“As we have seen the prevalence of stress and anxiety-related disorders increase dramatically over the past few years on this and other university campuses, the need for intervention has become more critical,” said Bellew. “This increase in anxiety is not limited to students but extends to faculty, staff and administration as well.  For this reason, the mindfulness class is being offered to faculty, staff, and students. Mindfulness is one of many interventions that can allow us to experience less stress and anxiety, and live more intentionally out of our values rather than simply reacting [to] the demands of life.”

Printed schedules of all the offered classes are posted prominently around campus, and any questions can be directed to Asbury fitness group classes require punch cards, which are available for sale at both the Luce Center front desk and the Sherman Student Center (ATS) front desk for $20. These cards can be used for 10 one-hour classes, plus one bonus class when the card is completed. Students not wishing to purchase a membership may pay $2 for each individual class they attend.