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Graphic compiled by Jackie Wallentin

This month, health and nutrition is more of a priority than any other time of the year. March is National Nutrition Month, which brings with it even more of a focus on maintaining one’s health.

College students often find it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle on campus due to busy schedules, dining hall food and difficulty in finding a healthy balance. Drake’s Wellness Center makes it easier for students to maintain a healthy lifestyle by providing a variety of services, not only to students, but also to faculty and staff.

The Wellness Center offers several different programs for those on campus to participate in. One of the most unique services provided is an individualized fitness and nutrition program. This opportunity is by far the most individualized program that the Wellness Center offers.

“People set up appointments and we do fitness tests to get a good baseline of their fitness level and set up an exercise program and typically a diet that’s based on what they want and need,” Assistant Director of Wellness Jana Peterson said.

Those wanting to participate in this program simply set up an appointment with Peterson or Johanna Determann, the assistant wellness director. From there, the process begins. First, participants talk with either Peterson or Determann and analyze their nutrition along with taking a fitness test, which includes measuring resting heart rate, blood pressure, body fat composition and physical activities such as pushups, sit-ups, sit-and-reaches and more.

To analyze diet and nutrition, participants record what they eat for two or three days and that information is then entered into a nutrition software to figure out the quality of their diet.

“We don’t necessarily do a diet change, but we get a good baseline to give recommendations,” Peterson said. “Sometimes, unless it’s in writing, you don’t really understand what you’re eating. It’s just an eye-opener.”

The program in general lasts around six to 10 weeks. People are encouraged to continue to come back and meet to discuss their progress but it is not necessary.

“At that point, it’s a good time to reassess and get you motivated and see if what you’re doing is working or if you’re remaining stagnant,” Peterson said. “If you’re making progress, it’s a good time to change and not remain on the plateau and think about reevaluating.”

Overall, the program has proven very successful for those who have participated in it. People have been able to lose weight, increase muscle or simply improve their lifestyle.

Fifth-year senior Lindsay Snodgrass is a prime example of the success that can result from participating in the Wellness Center’s program. After struggling with her weight for nearly her whole life, at the beginning of this school year Snodgrass felt that she really needed to take the steps to truly become healthy.

“I wanted this to be the time that I was actually going to follow through with being healthy,” she said. “I’d heard good things about the program and I got up the courage and decided to try it.”

Snodgrass fully committed herself to the program.  She cut out a lot of sugar from her diet, made time to exercise–particularly taking part in the classes offered in the Move More program–an everyday priority and made a commitment to get out more and be more active.

Participating in the Wellness Program and truly living out these lifestyle changes has made a significant impact in Snodgrass’s life. Recently, Snodgrass found out that she has lost 40 pounds since the first week of the school year.

“I feel a lot stronger this semester and I have a lot more energy,” she said. “This was probably one of the best school years of my life just because it was something so different and interactive where I actually had people I could talk to who knew how to help me and the exercise classes were something that pushed me to go every day. “

The programs offered by the Wellness Center have proven successful as well as enjoyable for those who have participated in them.
To get more information or to become involved in any program that is offered visit godrakebulldogs.com and click on the Wellness option under the Recreation and Wellness tab.

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