Physical education meets physical therapy every week at Ozarks Technical Community College.
The College’s physical therapist assistant program has added a fitness component to its curriculum to focus on self-fitness for future PTA graduates.
“The philosophy of the PTA program addresses the role of health and wellness in society. One of our program goals is that faculty and students will promote health and wellness within the community,” said Becky Crocker, PTA program director.
“As a faculty, we determined that a focus on self-fitness should start in the classroom from the beginning of the program.”
All 24 students take part in three one-hour fitness segments every week: yoga or Zumba, walking trails at the OTC Richwood Valley campus or at other community parks and circuit training at the OC Fitness Center in Ozark.
Dr. Steven Bishop, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs, leads the yoga classes himself in the FEMA shelter at OTC Richwood Valley.
“The fitness program offers stress relief strategies and hopefully, the development of life-long wellness behaviors,” Crocker said.
Students have enjoyed the workouts as part of their curriculum even if they didn’t know they were unaware of it at first.
“I didn’t know that this was going to be part of the class. It was a nice surprise,” said Leigh Anne Hudgings of Ash Grove.
“I typically worked out 5-6 days a week. I thought that with school, workouts might fall by the wayside. But they havent.”
Hudgings said the training will help her with patients when she goes to work.
“We are going to have to show clients how to perform certain exercises as part of their therapy and we will be able to show them the right way to do them since we are doing them ourselves,” she said.
Amanda McKiernan of Willard said she didn’t know about the classes, either.
“I work out three times a week and this is a good surprise,” she said, adding that she needs to build up strength to work with some patients.
“I’m a smaller person and I have to be able to catch people when they are doing their work sometimes. I need to build up my strength so I can have more control,” she said.
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