The SC class that works out together, stays together


by Brittany Robb, Editor-in-Chief

A Simpson Colloquium class spent last week focusing on something more physically intensive than just coursework.

Dave Camwell’s SC course this fall is titled “Jazz, Race and American Society” and meets in the Amy Robertson Music Building, but the class met across town last Friday in the Indianola YMCA gymnasium.

Devin Thomsen, a certified personal trainer and wellness coach with the Indianola YMCA, visited the classroom Wednesday to talk about healthy habits for college students. She then led the class in a workout session Friday morning out at the YMCA.

During the class discussion, Thomsen provided the class with tips for staying as health-conscious as possible while in college.

When Thomsen asked the class how many of them crave a soda or candy bar in the middle of the afternoon, nearly the entire class raised their hands.

“That’s from your ghrelin hormone levels,” she said. “Feed that with something better for you, like fruit or nuts.”

While SC courses are designed to focus on both academics and life outside the classroom, not many courses take it to Camwell’s level. Most SC classes involve visits from campus resources such as Counseling Services or the Hawley Center, but few involve resources beyond Simpson.

Thomsen kept the class engaged with tips for everything from what to eat throughout the day to ways to improve sleeping habits.

Camwell’s class has a number of student athletes, and Thomsen knew these students needed to consider diet in a different way than students with a more sedentary lifestyle.

“While athletes need to fuel their bodies in different ways, all students should consider healthy meal options,” Thomsen said. “Smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day are highly recommended.”

Focusing in on students’ sleep habits, Thomsen asked the class how many hours they got on average.

Some students said they got up to eight hours, while SC leader Miles Kirts said, “I drink coffee in the morning to make up for the lack of sleep.”

Many students can echo Kirts’ response, but Thomsen emphasized college-aged students should aim for seven to nine hours per night, if possible.

“And avoid the caffeine and sugars late in the day,” she said. “That coffee might help to push through the afternoon, but it’ll drive you nuts at 10 p.m. when you can’t fall asleep.”

Another tip for sleep improvements was a difficult one for millennials to implement: put down the technology at least 30 minutes before bed.

Some of the lighting mechanisms in cell phones and computers can mess with melatonin levels, making it that much more difficult to get to sleep. Thomsen recommended “blue light blockers” or glasses built to block out those disturbing lights for use right before bed.

“My husband makes fun of me, but I sit there with these glasses while I read on my tablet and I can still sleep like a rock,” she said.

Camwell’s class concluded the week with a workout led by Thomsen out at the YMCA. While not the average Friday in an SC class, the students actively participated and gave their all to the exercises.

It was a unique learning experience, and one that pushes the envelope for SC classes to come. The health tips came just in time, as finals quickly approach for the first time for freshmen.