Exertion evasion: Exercise classes take a hit 

Students+in+exercise+classes+are+making+do+by+creating+and+sending+videos+of+their+workouts+to+professors.++

Mesa Office of Communications

Students in exercise classes are making do by creating and sending videos of their workouts to professors.

Ava Moslehi, Staff Writer

Since the transition online, it is safe to say that many exercise science classes have been having a difficult time conducting their classes online. These classes were created with the intent to be in person, so how are they being carried out online?

Depending on the class, some have kept their criteria the same while others have had to completely change the layout of their class. Professor Lucinda Hollands, an exercise science professor at Mesa, has been teaching her yoga and dance classes on Zoom and although it’s not ideal, it works. 

Professor Kimberly Lester, who teaches many exercise science classes at Mesa, a few being cardio conditioning and boot camp, mentions that although the transition has been difficult, all the instructors and students are doing a great job. “The students report back with their times, distances, activities, how the workout was, and their workout and nutrition logs. I have also asked my classes to create their own workout and turn it back into me,” Lester said. Russel Deguzman, a student taking a cardio conditioning class, is one of the many who has been impacted by the move online, saying, “There’s a lack of motivation because nobody is spotting you or pushing you to improve other than yourself and it’s pretty taxing to keep coming up with ways to stay positive.” 

Professor Ed Helscher, an exercise science and kinesiology professor at Mesa, is currently teaching golf and the transition is less than ideal for him. Helsher has adjusted his golf class by creating alternate assignments for his students and communicating through Canvas and emails. The most difficult part has been keeping in touch with other staff and students, Helscher mentions, stating, “On campus when your colleague’s office is just down the hall, many issues are solved simply by taking a walk. Now it takes phone, texts, and emails to get information passed along. I think the same can be said about contact between instructor and students.” 

With the recent news confirming that the fall semester will be proceeding online, more and more exercise and lab classes have been considering the possibility of a hybrid modality which will be further discussed by the department. 

While some exercise science classes have been able to switch online somewhat smoothly, others have been experiencing more trouble. Professor Heidi Wilson, another professor at Mesa, teaches kickboxing and martial arts. Since her class is a combative class, the transition online has been quite challenging. Wilson has tried different methods to teach her students, from Zoom to sending videos back and forth with her students. However, because she does teach martial arts and kickboxing, many of her students have had to use their family members as partners which can become a bit dangerous at times. When asked about further details on the switch, Wilson mentions, “It’s not that smooth, but they still send me videos of them personally doing their crunches, their squats, their pushups, and so at least they remain fit, but as far as teaching true combative techniques the way it should be done, face to face, it’s hard to replicate that.”

That being said, there have been some benefits since the transition online, Wilson states, mentioning, “The classes I teach are defense-related, some of their siblings have learned self-defense from this, their parents have learned self-defense from this. So the benefits I see are more for their outer environments than it is for them personally.”

Due to the hardships of this pandemic, there has been a substantial amount of students dropping their classes. The transition online has been hard for everyone. This has been especially challenging for the students and teachers in exercise science courses who are trying to adapt to an online format. According to Wilson, “I have repeat students every semester, so they love the class and continue to take it and this going online was just kind of not expected and so they’re ghosts. That’s not how they wanted to do the class.” While Helscher states, “It is very difficult for a student that signed up for a face to face class to get the same experience when we move so quickly to remote instruction.” 

With the upcoming fall semester being online, it will be interesting to see how these classes will be conducted.