The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Trading PJs for Spandex

3 min read


In today’s greasy cheeseburgers and all-day TV marathons world, both of which are prevalent in any college student’s life (just like a side of fries to that burger), physical activity is more important than ever.

At the University of Mary Washington, exercise classes have taken students from the sofa into the gym. A variety of classes are offered, from tennis to soccer to weight lifting, to name a few.

“We max out our numbers,” Patrick Catullo, tennis and badminton class instructor, said.

With the new education requirements put into effect, physical education classes are no longer mandatory for graduation.

The now elective exercise classes are one-credit classes offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 40 minutes. There are also Tuesday and Thursday classes for 40 minutes.

“It’s a good way to get up in the morning. It’s actually pretty convenient,” sophomore Amanda Heathcock said. These classes can be taken for up to eight credits. In classes like tennis and badminton, students get to practice hitting and passing, and then  scrimmage each other.

“As the semester goes along it becomes more competitive,” Catullo said. “When [students] finish the class, they feel comfortable playing on their own with friends and family.”

Anyone wishing for a competitive edge in an exercise class would enjoy Catullo’s badminton class, where students dive ferociously for sailing birdies.

“When [students are] lying on the floor, it’s a good thing,” Catullo said.

For those who seek a more relaxing exercising experience, individual exercise may be the right fit for them. Individual exercise is a class where students have the freedom to engage in any type of physical activity that they wish.  After checking in with the professor, students can split up and choose their own type of exercise.

Students are not forced to play in a game of basketball or soccer to meet the requirements of the class. Neither are they expected to work out with a group. In individual exercise, students have the option of concentrating on their own fitness goals.

“A lot of people run around the campus, but I like to go on the weights,” freshman Amy Leap said.

Both individual exercise and classes like tennis offer students a chance to get up and get moving, but some students have preferences.
“I think tennis is more fun than going to the gym and exercising for individual exercise,” senior Caitlin Graybill said.

Exercise classes have been offered at UMW since it opened, according to Men’s Soccer Coach Roy Gordon.

“Earlier on it was traditional aerobics and aerobic dance,” Gordon said. “It’s (exercise) followed the trends in the fitness industry overall.”

With all of the options to exercise any day of the week, students at UMW are able to avoid lying on the couch and eating potato chips-at least for 40 minutes. And you don’t even have to be an athlete to achieve this.

Exercise classes are generally made up of very few athletes. The majority of the classes are made up of students who either want to fulfill the former general education requirement, or who enjoy being able to work out for their own benefit.

“I’m just taking it for fun. I love tennis!” Graybill said, who also works with the women’s Varsity Tennis team.

UMW has many options that cater to students’ needs. Even though the former general education requirement that required a physical education class was recently lifted, the gym still provides students the opportunity to stay in shape with state-of-the art machines, free classes such as yoga and kick-boxing, and, of course, exercise classes. It is up to students to make the initiative to take advantage of what UMW has available, and finding an enjoyable class is the perfect way to do it.

“I really enjoy the class, it’s crazy!” said senior Terry Grant, who, in addition to taking Catullo’s tennis class, has also provided leadership for the UMW club tennis team.

Still not convinced to trade pajamas for spandex? At the entrance to the gym, there are pamphlets and brochures that present information concerning the different exercise classes that are available.  This convenience allows students to see what is out there and think about what they would like to enroll in, not to mention talking to a few friends about it.

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