Photographs by Emilia Whitmer.
Colorado is known as the 5th most fit and active state in the US, according to Benefits Pro, and Colorado College is no anomaly, With most of its students cycling through the gym on a daily basis, the College has found that this has become both a blessing and a curse.
This spring, many forces on campus have come together to tackle the issue of over-exercising by planning to approach students and faculty who show red flags in terms of exercising habits. Their goal is to promote holistic health and a safe approach to exercise since this issue is often ignored because it almost seems counterintuitive.
“It’s important to understand that this is a multi-divisional approach in that I approached Heather [Horton], and then Heather brought in counselors from Boettcher,” said Chris Starr, Director of Intramurals, Club Sports, and Wellness. “We’re trying to cast a wide net and get as many eyes and brains on this as possible.”
The identifying process would take into consideration not only attendance and effort at the Adam F. Press Fitness Center but also the climbing gym and any general tip-offs from faculty, staff, and peers.
“Our focus is really on people’s health, wellbeing, and overall safety because we know that there is a lot of research out there that tells us that over-exercising comes with a lot of health risk,” said Heather Horton, Director of the Wellness Center. “We just wanted to review what we were doing and what other schools are doing and try to find out if we’re up to speed.”
Although not many of our neighboring schools have programs of this nature, CC is adopting policies and protocols from other institutions.
“Our intentions were to develop some guidelines to identify students and staff that are presenting as over-exercisers,” said Starr. “There are some very strict guidelines that other institutions and rec centers are using and we want to tailor it for us.”
Although some rumors on campus say that this program would zero in on identifying eating disorders, this is not the case. Over-exercising and eating pathology can often go hand-in-hand, but the program intends to focus strictly for over-exercising.
“This is really to identify those people who have taken a good thing a little bit too far,” said Starr. “There are many identifiable behaviors, one being coming in multiple times a day, exercising two plus hours at a time and there are some very specific others that we would be looking out for.”
“It’s crucial to remember, however, that this is not a punitive approach,” said Horton. “We don’t want to come off as punishing people for trying to achieve their fitness goals but we want to make sure that they’re approaching it in a safe manner.”
Starr is currently drafting the program and looks to raise awareness about the issue as well as to educate the campus population about how to approach health in a healthier way.