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Stanislaus State students to help community get active through free exercise program
100 Citizens 2
Students from the Kinesiology Department at Stanislaus State will volunteer their time as instructors starting next month for the upcoming 100 Citizens program. The free exercise program, which was created at CSU Northridge in 2012, is intended to provide the community with an affordable, replicable and sustainable workout. - photo by Photo Contributed

Stanislaus State kinesiology students do not think it is enough to conclude their college careers with diploma in hand.

Rather, to truly put to test what they have learned during their time spent at the local University, students like senior Channing Wilson want to develop and foster a healthier community through 100 Citizens, a free exercise program to kick off next month at Donnelly Park.

“This is different than just going to classes, hearing the information and just making sure that you are ready to repeat it on a test,” said Wilson. “This makes us so much more knowledgeable and prepared for what we do after we graduate.”

Created at California State University, Northridge in 2012, the purpose of 100 Citizens is to provide the community with a structured, free exercise program intended to meet or exceed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s minimum recommendations for physical activity, and ultimately improve the health and well-being of community members. Designed to be affordable, replicable, and sustainable, the program focuses on the five components of physical fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility and body composition.

Not only has 100 Citizens seen success throughout the state since its inception four years ago, the program has also been recognized nationally by First Lady Michelle Obama, who dubbed the exercise program as the winner of the ‘Let’s Move!’ Popular Choice award.

“It’s a great program, so I was happy to help get it going — to get the students organized and on their way to making it happen,” said Stanislaus State Kinesiology Professor Jeffrey Bernard. “This is a partnership between the kinesiology department and Turlock Parks and Recreation, which is running the program. We’re supplying the volunteers and the students have been through various University classes that have been ideal for them to lead these kinds of classes throughout the community.

 “We can all benefit from being a little bit more physically active,” added Bernard.

Stanislaus State students attended a workshop at CSU Northridge back in February with the intention of starting their own 100 Citizens program at the local University. Wilson said that although she originally decided to join the University’s effort to better prepare herself for her future career, the moment she saw the program in action at CSU Northridge was the moment she finally became excited about making a difference of her own.

“There are so many factors that turn people away from making healthy lifestyle choices,” said Wilson. “We all love food and it’s hard to stay motivated to be active all the time, but we want to help people get more balanced and help them lower the risk of developing different types of diseases.

“For people who think that paying for a gym membership is too much coming out of pocket, this will be an enjoyable way to exercise for free,” continued Wilson.

Since February, students have been working together with staff from the Kinesiology Department, as well as the Turlock Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department in order to establish the 100 Citizens program in the local community next month.

 “The Parks, Recreation & Public Facilities Department is really excited about the opportunity to work with the CSU Stanislaus students to offer the 100 Citizens program to our community,” said Karen Packwood. “This is a great opportunity for adults to participate in a free exercise program.”

Open to those 18 years old and older, the first 100 Citizens Program is scheduled for 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Feb. 15 to March 25. The second session will run from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday from April 4 to May 13. 

Both sessions will take place at Donnelly Park, 600 Pedras Rd. To register, visit the City of Turlock’s Park, Recreation and Facilities Department’s website.