The American Kinesiology Association defines kinesiology as "the academic discipline which involves the study of physical activity and its impact on health, society, and quality of life" (americankinesiology.org). The mission of the kinesiology program at William Jessup University is to seek to develop holistic health and wellness that includes one's physical health and well-being. The kinesiology students and faculty at William Jessup whole- heartedly believe that the way to successfully live a life holistically healthy and fit is through a life that is rooted in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Our faith-based approach to education is apparent, not only on our campus, but in each of our academic programs as well. The kinesiology program gives students the opportunity to be submerged into the field through real life experiences while simultaneously building a solid foundation in the knowledge and passion for our faith. Faith-based health and fitness programs are becoming increasingly popular, and that is the heart of the chair of our program, Scott Roberts.
Studying kinesiology at Jessup has shown us that God gave us our physical bodies to be used for the glorification of His name. Many of us came into the program with the idea that our bodies, especially the physical movement of them, were completely separate from our faith. Most of us enrolled in the program because we grew up loving sports and have a passion for exercise. Now that we are nearing the end of our time at Jessup, we have learned just how connected our bodies are to our faith in Jesus. For us, it seems crazy to enter a journey of fitness without consulting the One who created the body we are trying to improve. In Scripture, we are told, "You were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:20). Through our studies, we have learned the importance of taking care of our physical bodies, even though they are temporary, earthly houses for our souls. "We have come to believe that "our bodies truly are gifts from God, and we should treat them accordingly" (TQ).
When you spend as much time as we have studying the inner workings of the body, it is clear that none of it is an accident. We have discovered so much about God's "loving character and tender nature" (KM) through studying the complexities of the human body. The countless benefits of exercise have also become extremely apparent, which tells us that God created our bodies for movement. In our society today, it is more common to have a sedentary lifestyle than an active one, and that is so far from our intended nature (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Every system in the body thrives off of movement, and if we deprive it of that necessity, it slowly falls apart. We achieve the best quality of life when we make physical activity a part of our daily routine.
Even simple aerobic exercise can have a positive impact on a person's well-being and "will only improve a person's mortality whether they have a chronic disease or not" (JR). Implementing a physical activity routine in your life will result in drastic improvements to your health. It has been so eye-opening to see this statement prove it-self to be true time and time again in our studies. And again, it just goes to show that God truly did create our bodies for movement. As students, we have studied case after case of physical activity improving even the worst physical conditions. God created the human body to withstand an abundant life and by taking care of our bodies, "we can show God we are thankful for his provision" and live life like God calls us to (KM, John 10:10).
This program has given each of us a passion to educate people on the long list of benefits you can get from exercise. Our goal is to change the mindset of individuals when it comes to exercise, from a body image mindset, to a healthy body mindset. Our culture tends to lean towards exercise as a way to look good in our dream swimsuit rather than doing it because it is good for our health. If we continue to look at exercise as purely a means to fit into a swimsuit, our commitment doesn't tend to last long. This usually results in unrealistic workout routines that aren't sustainable in our schedule for very long periods of time. This is where our faith comes in. For us "our bodies represent just another form of worship" (BE). Taking care of ourselves directly correlates to our faith in Jesus Christ. "We believe that every part of our lives should be dedicated to Jesus, so taking care of our earthly bodies is just another thing we can contribute to serving Him" (BE). This program has uniquely impacted each of our lives by showing us how deeply the Creator of the universe cares for our health and well-being. Most importantly it has shown us that we were given these "uniquely gifted bodies for his service" (RC). There is no doubt that our bodies are in their element when they are used to glorify the One who made them.
For more information on the kinesiology program at William Jessup University, contact Scott Roberts at email@example.com.
NOTE: The thoughts and opinions in this article were compiled by students enrolled KINE 498 Senior Seminar in the Spring of 2017. TQ, KM, RC, BE and JR are the initials of individual student quotes.
Kimberly Otis recently graduated with a bachelor's of science in kinesiology from William Jessup University. Her passion is women's health, and her dream is to open a faith-based women's gym focused on holistic health and wellness.
Scott Roberts, Ph.D., is currently professor and chair of the Kinesiology Department at William Jessup University.
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