No Excuses: Free Fitness Classes for Thunderbird Students

Published: February 02, 2012 | Read Time: 4 minutes

One month into 2012, it’s likely many a resolution has already been broken but all hope is not lost, at least for Thunderbirds who have resolved to be more fit in the new year. Southern Utah University’s campus offers a wealth of opportunity for students to exercise and recreate, both independently and alongside other active students. And the best part is: a majority of these activities are free of charge.

In the J.L. Sorenson PE Building alone, these open activities range from racquetball and basketball to water sports, rock climbing and an indoor track.
The climbing wall is open daily from 4 to 10 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For those who prefer to be led through a workout routine, campus recreation also includes a variety of free classes for the SUU community, offered in the PE building.

Water aerobics, a low-impact exercise, is offered weekdays from 5:15 to 6 p.m. in the SUU Pool. The campus aquatic center also maintains lap and open swimming hours daily from 4 to 9 p.m. and recently began its Master Swimming program, offering instruction and coaching to those wishing to improve their skills or train for triathlon competitions. Master Swim is open to the public for a fee and is free to students. SUU Aquatics also offers special instructional arthritis swim sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 to 11 a.m. Private lessons are also available by appointment, for a fee of $10 per student.

For a more up-tempo workout, Zumba classes are a fun, effective way to get fit. The Latin-inspired exercise program is the nation’s latest fitness craze and a fun way to dance your way slim. The high-energy routine is based on movements borrowed from merengue, salsa and other Latin dances, and participants can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour, depending on their level of exertion. Zumba classes are offered on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on the third floor of the PE building and are free to students.

In addition to Zumba and water aerobics, the building hosts many other free fitness classes for students:

• Fat Burning Cardio, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:15 to 8:45 a.m. and Mondays from 3:30 to 3:50 p.m.

• Abs Lab, Mondays from 4:30 to 5 p.m., Tuesdays from 7:30 to 8 p.m. and Thursdays from 5:30 to 6 p.m.

• Plyometrics, Mondays from 3:50 to 4:30 p.m.

• Kickboxing, Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m.

• Body Pump, Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m.

• Condensed Cardio, Thursdays from 5 to 5:30 p.m.

• Rock Bottoms, Thursdays from 6 to 6:30 p.m.

Far beyond standard expectations of fitness instruction, the University’s rec center also offers kayaking clinics every Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. in the aquatic center. The cost is $2, or $4 for a private session.

Scuba diving instruction and certification is also available from certified instructors. Courses can be credited toward an open water diving certification and are taught by request for a fee of $25. For complete certification, a series of classes both in and out of the water can be arranged for a cost of $250. Scuba equipment and a textbook are required at the student’s expense.

Taking things into the wild, if you are willing to brave the cold, the SUU Outdoor Center provides instruction, advising and equipment for winter fun, ranging from snow shoeing to air boarding.

The Outdoor Center is open in room 176B of the Sharwan Smith Student Center Monday through Friday and provides expert advice, direction and equipment rental.

The J.L. Sorenson PE Building is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3:45. In addition to SUU students, members of the public are welcome for a minimal fee.

In addition to classes, a pool and sports facilities, the PE Building also houses a fitness center, where treadmills, bikes, cross-trainers and step machines line the cardio area. Cybex free weights and circuit weight machines are also available. The fitness center is one of the few activities where fees apply for students. Monthly passes can be acquired for $20 or a pass for the entire semester can be purchased for $60. Daily charges are $5 per student. The center is open weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information on activities, schedules or fees, please contact Ken Nielson, coordinator of Campus Recreation, at 435-586-7774 or

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