YMCA Offers Opportunity to Physical Fitness Specialist Majors

Published 04.16.2008

Student News

Students enrolled in the physical fitness specialist major at Pennsylvania College of Technology visited the Williamsport YMCA pool recently to learn about aquatics classes.Pennsylvania College of Technology students enrolled in the physical fitness specialist major were given the opportunity to experience aquatic-exercise classes, thanks to the Williamsport YMCA.

The physical fitness specialist major recently revised its curriculum, and the 25 second-semester students who traveled to the YMCA on April 7 are the first to take a required course called group fitness leader training, which helps prepare them to become instructors in a variety of group-exercise formats, including aerobics, muscle conditioning and stretching.

Judy Quinti, instructor of fitness and lifetime sports, said all of those formats are explored in the college's Bardo Gymnasium, but water exercise cannot be taught on campus.

"Since we don't have a pool here, I wanted them to experience what an aquatics-exercise class feels like," Quinti said.

Quinti called YMCA Aquatics Director Laura Barnsley, who offered use of the facility's pool for an hourlong session to allow the students to experience the fun and learn the format of an aquatics group-exercise class.

"I thought this would be a good opportunity for that specific age group to see that water aerobics can really turn out a good workout," Barnsley said. "Most individuals see water aerobics as a joke. However, water aerobics can give a person a great aerobic and strength workout. Water aerobics is also low impact, making it easier on the joints of the body. This type of exercise can be beneficial to all age groups. It is also beneficial if an individual has an injury, is pregnant or just simply enjoys being in water."

Quinti said the group-exercise class was added to the curriculum to help students be well-prepared for any situation they may encounter when they enter the field of fitness.

"We're trying to make them as well-rounded a professional as we can, based on the needs of the industry," she said. "The personal trainer has to be much more diverse in our field beyond just personal training. They need management skills; they need group training skills. We're trying to give them as many skills as possible over and above personal training."

In the group fitness leader training class, students design routines that incorporate music selection, warm-up/cool-down, exercise patterns, safety considerations and more.

"We are graciously thanking the "˜Y' for its community connection to the college and for opening its doors to us so we can teach all aspects of group exercise," Quinti said.

For more information about the physical fitness specialist major or other academic programs offered by the School of Health Sciences at Penn College, call (570) 327-4519 or visit on the Web. To learn more about Penn College, visit online, call (800) 367-9222, or e-mail .