Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Year, New You

By Courtney Westlake

The month of January and the start of a new semester is the perfect time to revamp your approach to health and wellness. With the opening of the Recreation and Athletic Center, or TRAC, on UIS' campus last semester, students, staff and faculty now have access to a fabulous resource to kick their exercise and healthy living routines into gear.

The amenities of the TRAC are outstanding, and new features have even been added this semester, said Amanda Jillson, assistant director of fitness and instructional programs at the TRAC.

One of the first areas guests notice in the TRAC when walking in is called "Fitness Area One," Jillson said. This workout room is equipped with treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, free weights, a cable cross-over, hammer-strength equipment and much more.

"Hammer-strength equpiment is plate-loaded, so you put your own weight on there," Jillson said. "And we have one for each muscle group."

The second level of the TRAC is called the mezzanine level and contains a 3-lane track on which 12 laps equals one mile. There are also other cardiovascular machines and an "abdominal area" with exercise balls and other equipment that make up Fitness Areas Two and Three.

The TRAC offers personal training, fitness assessments and nutrition planning as well as a variety of group fitness classes - up to six per day - including Yoga, Core Crazy, 6-Pack Attack and Circuit Express.

"We've had really great success with them so far this semester, and I hope we keep having a great turnout," Jillson said. "They're free to rec center members, so you don't have to pre-register for the class you want to take. You can just drop in."

The fitness room, where most of the group fitness classes take place, is located on the main level near Fitness Area One. Two racquetball courts are down the hall from the fitness room, and they can also be converted into squash courts, Jillson said.

The performance arena at the TRAC is home to the UIS Prairie Stars basketball and volleyball teams, but at least one of the courts is always open for recreational use, Jillson said. Upon asking the front desk, the court can be converted to a volleyball court, badminton or pickle ball court.

"We have some really great things to offer here at the TRAC for recreation," Jillson said.