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UNG takes active role in getting and keeping students, faculty and staff in healthy condition

Ewan Bain, a 21-year-old senior from Ayr, Scotland, takes advantage of the mobile hydrostatic body fat test in October 2017 on University of North Georgia's Dahlonega Campus. After dunking himself in the tank, Bain received a breakdown of his body fat along with a detailed analysis of his BMI percentages. Delivering the results was UNG alumna Lynn Sweatte. She co-owns Body Fat Test Company with her husband, Chip Sweatte.

Many are familiar with the mantra "sitting is the new smoking." Coined by Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk, it means the sedentary lifestyle that has evolved over time is taking years off our lives.

Luckily, the University of North Georgia (UNG) has taken those words to heart and is taking an active approach to combat that trend.

Recently, the University System of Georgia (USG), including UNG, challenged its students, faculty and staff to improve their health one step and one day at a time. The USG system implemented a Fall 2017 Health Trails & Financial IQ Systemwide Challenge from Oct. 2 to Nov. 12.

The six-week challenge was a competition among all 28 USG institutions and the system main office. All benefit-eligible employees could compete by logging steps through virtual global destinations with the goal of earning 300-plus virtual miles and expressions of gratitude.

The top UNG team was Nighthawk A/V with team members Steven Webb, Michael Allan, Brandon Buttler, Scott Marshall, Andrew Todd, and Benny Wyrick. They walked 4,391.8 total miles, earning them 28th place overall.

Once the competition ended, though, it did not mean the healthy habits do. In fact, UNG employees have a plethora of amenities at their fingertips to maintain an active lifestyle thanks to the Recreational Sports department and its facilities.

UNG students with an ID card have free access to the Hugh Mills Physical Education Complex on the Gainesville Campus. Faculty and staff plus their dependents with ID cards may use the facility for free. Community members may pay a fee of $275 per year for an individual or $325 for a family.

At the Rec Center on the Dahlonega Campus, fees are assessed automatically to students who take a majority of their classes there. Students enrolled on other campuses can access the Rec Center by paying the $83 fee. UNG full-time faculty and staff with ID cards pay a membership fee of $12.50 a month or $15 a month for a 10-month employee. Community members may pay $200 per semester.

The Hugh Mills building and surrounding complex on the Gainesville Campus offers:

  • a gymnasium
  • a fitness center with group classes
  • a junior Olympic-size swimming pool
  • tennis courts
  • an outdoor track
  • recreation fields
  • jogging/bike trails

The Rec Center on the Dahlonega Campus features:

  • a strength training area
  • group exercise studio with classes such as yoga, kickboxing and boot camp
  • locker rooms
  • three-lane climbing wall
  • cardio area
  • indoor track
  • ping pong tables
  • three basketball courts
  • a pool in Memorial Hall

For those seeking a more concentrated effort, both campuses have nationally certified personal trainers to tailor workouts.

"All of our trainers and instructors have a national certification," said Chelcee Wright, graduate assistant of fitness and facilities with Rec Sports. "But they are going to give you that one-on-one attention."

Rec Sports also organized a mobile hydrostatic body fat test for students, faculty and staff through the Body Fat Test Company, which is co-owned and operated by UNG grad, Lynn Sweatte, and her husband, Chip.

The test can give individuals a breakdown of their body fat along with a detailed analysis such as your BMI percentages and a calorie breakdown to help you lose weight, Wright said.

"You can see where you stand, which gives you the ability to make a plan," she said. "For example if you want to burn a certain amount of calories a day, it lists an activity to do so you'd make that goal."

Along with classes, an outdoor pursuits program takes advantage of the north Georgia community by planning trips such as caving, climbing and snow skiing. Sport clubs keep people with similar interests busy with cycling, rowing and men's and women's soccer, to name a few. Intramural Sports also provides a place and space for students, faculty and staff seeking some competition during the fall and spring.

For more information, visit the Rec Center webpage or the Hugh Mills webpage.

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