Campus News

New Wellness Session Aims to Cultivate Healthy Habits

February 28, 2020

Carson Li ’20

Patricia ’63 & Merrill ’61 Shanks Health and Wellness Center.
The exterior of the Patricia ’63 & Merrill ’61 Shanks Health and Wellness Center.
Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

On Mondays at 5 p.m., the Patricia ’63 & Merrill ’61 Shanks Health and Wellness Center is busy. People hurry to enter the multipurpose room and lay out their yoga mats on the floor. They are ready for a YeoFit yoga class.

YeoFit is an initiative started in 2018 that offers a wide range of free drop-in fitness classes for people in the Oberlin community. Besides yoga, there are also TRX, spinning, jump rope, cardio boxing, water aerobic, strength training and Zumba classes. All of the classes take place in modern, well-lit rooms in the Shanks Wellness Center that opened on Aug. 28, 2018. 

YeoFit’s mission is to energize, empower, and engage the Oberlin community through fitness and fun. It defines well-being as it is linked to both mental and physical health. The nuance between health and wellness is that wellness is to develop healthy habits both for your body and mind.

Besides having the fitness rooms, the center also has a space called MindSpa, located in room H111. There you can find stress balls, comfy pillows, meditation guides, a Zen garden, and so much more related to mindfulness. Students can reserve a 30-minute session through the YeoFit website.

This semester, YeoFit continues its mission in wellness and has offered a new seven-week session called Healthy Habits for Optimal Health, taught by Michaela Puterbaugh ’17. After graduation, Puterbaugh attended Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and she’s returned to Oberlin with her health coach certification.

“A certified health coach is basically someone who works with people one-on-one or in a group setting to improve diet and lifestyle — it's never to prescribe a diet or anything like that,” says Puterbaugh. “It's more about just working individually with someone to really try to uncover the root of what's going on and then take small actionable steps to get to wherever they want to get to.”

As a former Lacrosse player at Oberlin, Puterbaugh grew up learning health and nutrition. She sees having a healthy diet and lifestyle is a powerful tool — it can “lead you to feeling vibrant and energized.”

In her session, she covers topics such as blue zone, a study of the longest living people around the world, and intuitive eating, which is a mindful approach to eating, stress management.

“I thought that it could be a really helpful resource for students who are in this high- stress environment where health and wellbeing isn't always their priority,” she says.

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