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EIU Department of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation

History of Adult Fitness Program


Dr. Tom Woodall began a “Run for Your Life” program in 1966 after unofficially meeting with and coaching a few novice exercisers for several months. The program began with the men (no women at that time) meeting on the outdoor track to run in the morning and at noon.

After several years, some 200 individuals had begun the jogging program. It became a little more organized and official as screenings were completed on the participants, record-keeping was done with participants logging their own workouts, and motivational gimmicks were employed. By 1982, the Human Performance Lab was up and running, a graduate curriculum for Exercise Science (now Exercise Physiology) was added, and a cardiac rehabilitation program (METS) at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center was established. Students in the Exercise Physiology program have the option to take an applied class in the METS department where they lead cardiac rehabilitation classes and learn to conduct exercise stress tests on patients.

The Adult Fitness Program, as it became known, consisted of Walk, Swim, and Run for Your Life groups. Supervised exercise facilities included the Lantz field house, O’Brian Stadium track, and the Lantz pool.

When Dr. Woodall retired in 2000, Jill Owen took over as director of the program. Stacey Ruholl joined as an Associate Director in fall 2001. Jill was promoted to chair of the Department of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation in 2007; at that time, Stacey Ruholl took over as director with Mark Kattenbraker and Traci Worby serving as Associate Directors. A few years later, Chris Ryan became one of the Associate Directors when Traci stepped down after having her first child. Chris left the University to pursue other professional opportunities in 2011. In fall 2013, Maranda Schaljo joined the AFP as an Associate Director. When Jill retired in 2016, Mark left the AFP and assumed an Interim Chair position. Then, in fall 2018, Josh Stice joined as an Associate Director as well.

The program grew to over 200 active members and resided in the Student Recreation Center, the indoor/outdoor track, and the Lantz pool. The program was shut down for a considerable period of time during the Covid era, and unfortunately, many members did not return to the program. Post-Covid, the program now has 100+ active members and membership continues to grow. Adult Fitness includes individual exercise in the Student Recreation Center, group fitness classes (bootcamp, neuromotor training, Pilates), and swimming in the Lantz pool.

Students pursuing a master's degree in Exercise Physiology work with the program members each semester. In addition to coaching individuals and leading group fitness classes, they conduct research presentations on relevant topics for members. Additionally, Graduate Assistants in the KSR Department help with the day-to-day operations.

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Contact Information

Department of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation

2506 Lantz Building
Charleston, IL
Fax: (217) 581-7973

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