From waterfront activities in fair weather, to taking dance and fitness classes at the ARC, to even getting in cardio running from classmates-turned-zombies, there are endless ways that students stay active on campus. New this year are the kickboxing classes being offered by Dr. Leonard Cruz of the Theater, Film, and Media Studies (TFMS) Department.
The classes, which started last semester, are held weekly in the Montgomery Hall dance studio. Cruz, this year a faculty-in-resident living in Dorchester Hall, has a background in dance, meditation, and muay thai, a Thai root of kickboxing. He has made providing different approaches to health and fitness his mission for students.
Each session is about an hour long, made up of different kick, jab, and punch routines that focus on cardio as well as strength training. Elbows and knees are very important in muay thai, so instruction focuses a lot on combinations of jabs and kicks involving both. “I also try to do ab-work and push-ups, because it’s important to strengthen those as well as the core,” says Cruz.
Junior Sherise Nock, an attendant of the kickboxing sessions, says, “You get good cardio, and specific focus on different muscles — it’s the best of both worlds.”
Dr. Cruz considers the kick-boxing sessions part of a two-prong approach to mental and physical fitness, taught in conjunction with his weekly yoga sessions. “Both are polarities […] one is very much about getting the body hot and warm, and aerobically trained, and the other is the yin side, which is very much about restoration, finding the breath, meditation.”
There tends to be a bigger turnout for kick-boxing, which Cruz reads as students being more interested in getting out stress during the school week.
Sophomore Jessica Zavala calls it “a really different form of exercising.” She continues, “Being in a gym there’s way less interaction. Here you can bring your friends and have fun. It kind of forces you to keep going, too.”
Dr. Cruz also holds yoga and aromatherapy sessions in different residence halls, most recently on Monday, March 2 in Dorchester, but also in PG and Waring Commons. If students attend they can walk away with a free massage ball, so they can continue to practice fitness and stress relief on their own.
Cruz emphasizes a full-body approach to health for students. “How to relieve stress, self-care — I think it’s all very important for students and their well-being,” says Cruz.
Kickboxing classes are every Tuesday night from 8-9 p.m., and yoga sessions are held Sunday nights 9-10 p.m. Keep a look out for other events held in your residence.