Fitness center offers new incentive to encourage students to exercise


To encourage students to work out regularly, the fitness center at Webster has challenged students with a goal. To get the Gorlok to figuratively travel 870 miles to Jacksonville, Fla., by spring break, students have to log how many miles they exercised.

Students are to inform desk attendants of either the amount of miles swam in the pool, peddled on a stationary bike or ran on the treadmill. Each mile recorded is another mile the Gorlok travels. So far, students have logged 563 miles.

Student supervisors Dave Schwab and Kaytline Burczak chose this program after brainstorming ideas to encourage students to exercise more. A login sheet was placed on the front desk of both the fitness center and pool for students to record their mileage once they had finished working out. Mileage records are checked daily from pool and fitness center attendants.

According to Myrna Homm, coordinator of aquatics and the fitness center, the objective was to create a program that would be a good incentive of motivating students to exercise more frequently during the first eight weeks of spring semester. The goal is to be motivational and entertaining so students would pay attention to their mileage. Every time students sign in, they will be entered in a drawing to win a prize from Webster’s Jacksonville campus. As far as Homm and Schwab know, this is the only Webster campus participating in this particular program.

Although the fitness center believes the program has very good reasoning and incentive, many students are not aware of it. Andre Johnson, who works out three times a week for an hour and 20 minutes, had no knowledge of The Gorlok Spring Tour. Johnson said he has never been asked to record any mileage of the laps he has ran. He said he only works out for a class he is taking to maintain personal fitness.

Rachel Sipes is taking the same class, Strength and Conditioning I, and works out just as often. She also wasn’t aware of the program.

“They told me once that I have to (record my mileage) and I had to do it for biking for like, 13 miles or something,” Sipes said. “I think they said they were recording everyone’s for something specific. Like a race or something.”

Sipes comes in every Monday and Wednesday for class for about 40 minutes to an hour and, occasionally on Saturdays with her friends for an hour.

Compared with nearby universities, Webster seems to be the only campus with a known exercise incentive program for students.  However, other universities do have exercise incentive programs for faculty.

Sandra Ray, athletics administrative assistant at University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL), didn’t know the exact details of the program, but knows they have one in place at UMSL. Staff members are encouraged to work out and record their mileage which helps them accumulate points for the incentive program. Names of participating staff are then entered into a party drawing. For UMSL students, Campus Recreation has a program that offers aerobics. There is also an attendant in the UMSL fitness center at all times to teach students how to use machines properly.

Jimmy Bradburn, student recreation supervisor at Saint Louis University (SLU), said he doesn’t think there is an incentive program in place for students. However, faculty is encouraged to work out to get insurance rates down. SLU is required to pay insurance for employees, but if the school can provide proof that the faculty is maintaining good health practices, they can get a percentage of what they pay for insurance back.

SLU faculty is encouraged to work out and is given points based on the amount of exercise done. Getting physical tests done to monitor process also counts as points.

Though Webster currently has no known faculty exercise incentive program in place, Schwab and Burczak hope the new incentive will encourage students to exercise and get the Gorlok to Jacksonville.

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