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Mike Williams, Director of Fitness and Recreation.

Michael Williams, Director of Fitness and Recreation, on How Exercise Can Help Improve Your Test Scores

  • Research has shown that as little as 30 minutes of exercise a day can improve your general health and well-being. For busy college students it can help improve productivity, increase your powers of recollection, reduce stress, and be an overall mood booster.

    At Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), our students are committed to improving the lives of their patients by promoting active and healthy lifestyles and they are passionate about being active in their own lives too. That’s just one of the reasons why MCPHS is proud to partner with MassArt and Wentworth Institute of Technology to provide students access to gym facilities, group exercise classes, and health and wellness programming.

    We sat down with Michael Williams, Director of Fitness and Recreation at Wentworth Institute of Technology, to hear more about what is available to students and why following a healthy lifestyle is so important.

    Tell us about your role as the Director of Fitness and Recreation at WIT.

    My main responsibility is the daily operation of the Schumann Fitness Center. With a student staff that is closing in on 75 people, we are one of the largest student employers in the COF. Being a Director means that there are a lot of moving parts (literally and figuratively) that need to come together in order to make the process smooth for our guests coming into the facility. Beyond that, we have a growing group exercise program, of which I am a part of as the instructor for the Bootcamp classes. I really enjoy teaching the classes and the camaraderie that comes along with that.

    What is your favorite part of your job?

    My favorite part of my job is being able to see those students who come in here every day and work really hard to make physical fitness a part of their daily life. I love celebrating their successes and working with them through their challenges in order to find a way to make it better. Working with students is ALWAYS unpredictable, but ALWAYS fun and enriching.

    Where is the fitness center located and who has access to it?

    The Fitness Center is located on the lower level of the Flanagan Campus Center (Beatty Hall) on the Wentworth campus. The fitness center is open to the students, faculty, and staff of MCPHS, MassArt, and Wentworth.

    What type of equipment is available in the fitness center? What are some examples of group exercise classes offered?

    The fitness center has over 50 pieces of cardiovascular, free weight, and selectorized pieces available. We are looking forward to our new weight equipment that is arriving in July 2018.

    We also offer a wide array of group exercise classes that include things like Barre, BollyX (taught by MCPHS’ own Heather Rabaut), Bootcamp, Kickboxing, Meditation, Yoga, and more. The classes are generally held during the noontime hour or in the early evenings during the workweek (5-9 p.m.). Group exercise classes are mostly held in the 610 Group Exercise Studio, on the fifth floor of the 610 Residence Hall on the Wentworth campus.

    We heard there is a new Spin Studio opening. Tell us more about that.

    The Cycling Studio opens in August of 2018. It will host some truly amazing spin bikes, the Stages SC3, and will have a wide array of technology that will hopefully allow students to pre-register for the bike of their choice for their chosen class. The studio will be located on the lower level of the Evans Way/Tudbury Residence Hall on the WIT campus.

    Does the fitness center offer any special programming to promote healthy living?

    I am a certified personal trainer, and one of my roles is to work with the Counseling Offices at MCPHS, MassArt, and Wentworth as part of a program that we created called, “Move for Mental Health.” This program pairs students who are dealing with diagnosed anxiety and depression issues with me, and we offer them free personal training services as a way to assist with improving their lives in a meaningful way. The program has been running for about four years, and has had many tremendous successes. It’s a program that is unlike any other at colleges and universities.

    I don’t want to spill the beans, but students, faculty, and staff should stay tuned for a great array of programming coming this fall.

    Why do you think it is important for students to visit the fitness center?

    If the pharmaceutical industry, doctors, nurses, PA’s, and more could invent a magic pill that would rid the world of crippling epidemics like obesity, they would all become insanely wealthy. Sadly, movement and exercise can’t be put into pill form. Movement is the best way for students to improve their mood, improve sleep quality, lengthen their life span, improve their memory, improve decision-making skills, improve attention and focus, lower risk of heart disease, and generate the growth of new brain cells. We haven’t even talked about the other physical benefits, yet!

    So how can busy college students fit exercise in to their lives?

    As one would put their classes and labs into their daily planner, exercise should be in there as well. Scheduling time for movement, even if it is a quick walk, is the best way to meet your body’s need and desire to move. Whether you have 30 minutes or 2 hours, finding a way to fit exercise into your daily life will prove immensely beneficial. That doesn’t necessarily mean coming to the fitness center and getting on a treadmill. It could mean taking a group exercise class, lifting some weights, going up and down the stairs a few times, or even taking short walks before exams (P.S. Taking a brisk 20 minute walk prior to an exam will improve test scores!).

    Students can visit the Schumann Fitness Center seven days a week. Fitness and wellness programs are just one part of the exciting campus life at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS). Discover more and you’ll see that there’s a lot of life to live outside the classroom.