The Workout Buddy Program, a new program from the Recreation Services Department, helps people with disabilities access fitness and recreation services.
Students with disabilities including blindness and congenital glaucoma partake in this program. The program is free to full-time students because it is covered under student’s activities fee.
“It gives them confidence to participate in recreation and fitness activities that are available to all students on campus,” said Renee Kirby, Assistant Director of Disability Resources Services.
“I feel the program is very helpful for blind people who need people to help them use the equipment and to do the exercises directly,” said Derren Daly, a junior communications student.
Jennifer Kulb is a part time recreations employee with a degree in Kinesiology. She developed the program after working with disabled students at a summer internship.
Kulb and three volunteers help students walk, use a handcycle, receive assistance transferring from one exercise machine to another or participate in aquatic exercises.
“Students using this program have reduced their body fat, have increased their flexibility and increased their lean muscle mass,” Kulb said.
A total of 14 students with disabilities are taking advantage of the program. Nine of the students are working out on a consistent basis, considered three times a week. Kulb sets her hours around the needs of the students working out.
“Having a workout buddy will definitely increase the efficiency and safety of the workout session as well as provide instruction of proper body mechanics required to use the exercise equipment,” Kulb said.
Kulb or a volunteer pairs with a disabled student and guides them through various activities. Students learn by watching demonstrations of activities, being guided and holding the muscles the demonstrator is working.
“Having supervision and access to repeated instruction, most students are able to achieve independence during their workout session,” Kulb said. “It gives them access to what you and I take for granted
Any student interested in the Workout Buddy Program should call (215) 204-4783 for an appointment.