Physical Education at Foothill College


Just because a class isn’t a GE or doesn’t transfer to a UC or CSU doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. For example, some of Foothill’s most beneficial classes are physical education courses.

For the upcoming winter quarter, Foothill is offering 119 sections for fifty-eight different physical education classes. Classes range from traditional sports, such as rugby, table tennis, archery, and soccer, to classes based on specific workouts, such as “Weight Lifting for Health and Fitness”. Most classes have beginner, intermediate, and advanced sections.

According to instructor Rita O’Loughlin, the personal nature of classes are what set Foothill’s program apart from others.

“What’s great about our physical education program is the variety of curriculars that we offer. Within each class, instructors are able to work individually with students, so most classes are appropriate for everybody. It’s just such a healthy atmosphere with a great student energy level.”

Classes also are cheaper than traditional gym memberships at one unit a quarter — thirty-one dollars — and include access to a locker and Foothill’s gym, the Fitness Center.

Despite how accessible exercise can be, most Americans don’t meet the US Department of Health and Human Services recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate or seventy-five minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. Northwestern Medicine found that more than sixty percent of college students don’t meet this exercise standard either — something which is especially disturbing considering that inactive college students might translate into inactive adults.

This is ironic, considering college students might reap the significant benefits of regular exercise the most. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that regular exercise can “keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age…reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better,” all of which improve what a student can give of themselves to school and other activities.

Some, often unknowingly, use exercise and physical education classes for mental gratification and sheer enjoyment. Marian Avila, a student, said she found community in her archery class.

“I had always wanted to do archery but I’d never really found a place or an area where I felt comfortable doing it, or it was even accessible…Dixie [the archery instructor] is trying to get us into the mentality of ‘you’re here to do something versus just shoot random arrows. You’re actually here to learn, you’re actually here to treat your equipment right, you’re only gonna make out of it what you make out of it.’”

For others, it’s a mean of structured self improvement.

Archery student Souleymane Sarr described “It takes the stress off of certain other classes. Taking archery, it’s a good break, and you’re still on campus…It’s important to have that freedom…you don’t get in traditional classes. It’s not just strict and mandatory, they give you space to feel around and see what you’re good at, what you can improve on. It’s good for people to be able to pinpoint things themselves.”

Physical education classes for the Winter 2018 quarter will begin January 8, 2018. The class schedule and more information can be found here.