KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney has launched a new community wellness program aimed at helping people meet their fitness, nutrition, rehabilitation and overall health needs.
Offered through the Physical Activity and Wellness Laboratory at UNK, the program launched in October and is led by new Clinical Exercise Coordinator Jon Larsen, who is in charge of developing the program.
Certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, he previously worked 25 years as strength and conditioning coach for Loper Athletics. Larsen has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s degree in exercise science from UNK.
Personal training, exercise and nutrition consultations, health screenings and fitness classes are among programs offered. Larsen said the offerings are not meant to compete with fitness centers and health clubs in Kearney.
“This is all about education. Our goal is to work with youth, teens, adults, special populations such as seniors or diabetic patients, and educate them in areas of nutrition, injury prevention and physical therapy in an affordable, private and non-intimidating setting.
“Our focus is to educate all populations on the benefits of all levels of fitness.”
A main goal of the program is to provide community outreach to adults and youth – including adolescent athletes – and enhance their physical fitness and health through exercise, Larsen said.
UNK is offering private and small-group instruction, with an emphasis on individual attention and personalized programs.
“We want to help people accomplish their individual goals, and make sure they are doing things correctly every day. It is educational and supervised every minute they are here,” said Larsen. “Whether you are an athlete or somebody who has never exercised before, we want to see everyone benefit.”
All assessments and exercise sessions occur in the new UNK Wellness Center and its private exercise room. The Demonstration Kitchen and other areas are also being used.
“The idea isn’t to make this a grind. We create a fun atmosphere for people, but we also set goals and get things accomplished,” Larsen said.
Much of the strength, agility and fitness classes focus on development of balance, coordination, strength training, injury prevention and proper exercise techniques to develop performance abilities necessary in sports.
Larsen said he’s also looking to expand the community outreach to area police and fire departments, EMTs and city employees. “Those groups are ideal to work with because they have physically demanding jobs. There is stretching, basic resistance work and other areas we can help with that aid in injury prevention and overall daily health and wellness.”
The new community wellness program also offers opportunities for UNK exercise science students, who work alongside Larsen in nearly every aspect of the consultations, screenings and classes.
“Students looking to work as personal trainers, coaches, physical therapists, occupational therapists have a great opportunity to get hands-on training,” Larsen said. “This is of real value to our students. It gives them more opportunities to get experience and exposure to their chosen career fields.”
For more information or to schedule appointments, contact Jon Larsen at 865-8336 or firstname.lastname@example.org