KIN Department Chair Corner: Physical Activity, Health, and Community

by Shirley Reekie, KIN Dept Chair

What if the price of an airline ticket were based on your weight? Or if your BMI determined the cost of your health insurance? Suppose your company paid you to participate in activity classes! These might sound far-fetched but each is already in existence to a limited extent somewhere. These and other examples lead me to think that many, perhaps most, of the KIN jobs in the future may be based somewhere in “the community,” meaning not in a specialized gym/sport setting but in some type of public locations for those who are probably not regularly exercising for a variety of reasons. If that is the case, then we need to educate our students on how to instruct large numbers about healthy physical activity, which in turn means combining aspects of several different emphasis areas.

With this in mind, KIN is actively working on both modifying the curriculum and on increasing the number of internships (and some paid positions!) in places such a city and county parks. Both the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County are trying to help all citizens become more active, but especially those who are in lower socioeconomic groups (who may not have easy access to a costly gym or be near to a safe open space) by working with Kinesiology to provide staffing for boot camps and to take folks hiking, all run through parks’ organizations. How about taking a group hiking some weekends, and along the way, talking about healthy eating or showing a variety of stretches? Or perhaps you see yourself inspiring a morning group to become more healthy through a boot camp run by you? Of course, we already work with the public at the Timpany Center, helping those who are older, are obese, or who have a disability, to be physically active. It is this program model that has inspired the city and county parks to ask about working with Kinesiology students on a wider basis. It’s also a very similar program to the CSU Northridge “100 Citizens” project, which was recently recognized at the White House for encouraging community physical activity.

Look for emails on both jobs and internships to come your way in the next few months with a variety of public agencies! And if you are not yet on the KIN student email distribution on list, please come to the office and sign up or call 408 924 3010 and leave a message with your email address clearly stated.

Finally but importantly, to those graduating, many congratulations! Please fill out our exit survey to be distributed soon and please stay in touch with your alma mater and let us know what you are doing. There’s no doubt that more people are aware of the need for physical activity and the many benefits to be gained, than ever before. Let’s capitalize on that awareness!!