Does exercise make you happy? (Spoiler alert: Yes, but it may depend on why you are working out)

Does exercise make you happy?

Spoiler alert: Yes, but it may depend on why you are working out.

By: Julia Pangalangan, B.A., ACE Health Coach, CPT

How many times have you heard this phrase, “Exercise is for your mind, body, and soul..”? But what does that even mean?

Our society places an intense focus on exercising for the body. We are taught that exercise can help us achieve the impossible image standard that we desire. We all have also heard the crazy long list of the physical health benefits of exercise.  Very rarely are the mind and soul benefits of exercise brought to our attention, even though those may be the most significant to our well being.

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101 Years Old and Going Strong

I don’t know about you, but when I am 101 years old, I want to be doing exactly what Louise Hautau is doing!  Louise has been a member of the Miami Recreation since it opened in 1994 and has participated in morning water fitness classes for decades.  She still visits the Recreation Center two or three times a week even as she nears her 102nd birthday in April.

Her daughter Lucille, who is also a long standing member at the Rec, stated ‘swimming absolutely contributes to Mom’s good health.’  Louise’s exercise was put on hold in 2017 when she suffered a severe break in her neck.  Miraculously, she recovered enough to get in the pool where she can enjoy pain-free, weightless exercise.  She is able to utilize the chair lift in and out of the pool and then finishes her exercise with a hot tub soak.

Since moving to Oxford in 1959 the Hautau family has been swimming at Sawyer, Billings, and Phillips and now at our facility and we are so fortunate to have them as our members.  Louise is truly an inspiration to us all and makes us all want to take a swim!


Student Staff Spotlight on Sara Foley

Sara Foley is one of the Group Fitness Student Managers this year at the Rec. Being a Student Manager means some days she teaches fitness classes and other days she works on grassroots marketing through the Group Fitness social media accounts. Preparing to teach a class includes creating the music playlist and planning the different exercises. Her work in the marketing aspect of the job includes promoting the various special events that Group Fitness puts on for Miami students and the community throughout the year.

Sara was a member of the Fitness Instructor Training Program as a freshman and was certified within her first semester. She spent the second-semester shadowing other group fitness instructors and began teaching classes of her own. Sara wants to work in the Sports Marketing industry after she graduates and wants to carry her passion for teaching classes and marketing for the Group Fitness department into her professional career.

It takes someone especially outgoing and willing to look silly to make a good fitness instructor and student manager, and Sara works tirelessly to interact with patrons and make them feel special. She encourages those who attend her classes to always give the class 110% and to show them that exercise can be fun! She plans to continue to teach classes after graduation and will always strive to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Assistant Director of Fitness, Shannon Speed described Sara as someone who stood out from the very beginning. “Her bubbly personality and optimistic nature make her an inspirational leader as a Student Manager for Group Fitness. Sara has been a stand out from the beginning. Displayed through her willingness to be involved in countless special events, learn additional group fitness class formats, and create connections on campus, Sara provides a great about of support to the Group FIT program,” said Speed. “I cannot say enough good things about Sara and what she has brought to the Recreational Sports Center.”

Sara loves working as a Student Manager at the Rec because she has the ability to motivate individuals to see fitness as a positive contribution to their days. “Sometimes people put group fitness classes on their schedules with a sigh of regret, but I like to work to change that attitude and stereotype that working out has to be a dreaded part of people’s days,” Sara said. She also stated that she finds herself the happiest when she gets to interact with individuals before and after class and getting to know people she wouldn’t have without group fitness.

Connecting with co-workers and developing relationships at work was a piece of advice Sara gave regarding how to make the most of your experience as a Student Manager. Sara states that attending as many special events as you can and consistently showing interest in the fitness community makes a huge difference.

Sara was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic as a child and is extremely passionate about using fitness and health to make a difference within that field. She has raised close to $30,000 for Type 1 diabetes research and wants to show the world that this disease doesn’t have to hold you back in life or keep you from doing the things you love, including teaching group fitness.

By Emily Comos, Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant

Student Staff Spotlight on Chloe Wright


Chloe is a motivated and enthusiastic student manager, who was promoted to her current position just three months after she started working. Her Rec journey started her freshman year and since then, she has made her mark in all areas with her hard-working and positive personality. Sadly though, she will be graduating this upcoming spring, and her enthusiasm will now be making its way into a high school classroom.

“Chloe has such incredible energy that radiates to the rest of the staff and our patrons,” said Jessie Bayer, Chloe’s supervisor.

Beyond her daily tasks, Chloe checks-in with the other staff and makes sure that they have everything needed for the day. She acts as the buffer between full-time staff and students staff.

“A normal day for me includes completing projects that my supervisor needs me to”  

Chloe states that she enjoys applying her academic skills to the tasks she’s working on. She quizzes for student staff to make sure they are up to date on all the things that have changed, as there are a lot of changes here at the Rec.

When asked what she liked the most about her job Chloe answered, “I really love the people that I work with, it’s also really flexible, I get to share my ideas and see some of them take effect”

She has also become the voice of the students who sometimes don’t get to be in meetings. She makes sure to share their ideas with the staff and provides notes back to those students.

Giggling Chloe said it is very likely that her colleagues describe her as loud, she hopes, however, that they think she’s funny and kind.

A piece of advice she would give to students seeking her position is  “if you’re motivated to be a student manager do the little things”. She explained that the little things are noticed.

She explained that during the hiring process they always look at reliability, consistency, and attendance, these are what she calls the “little things” that are highly considered.

Chloe’s goal after graduation is to be a high school English teacher. She believes her job here at the Rec is indeed preparing for her future. By managing her peers she’s learning the skills needed to earn people’s respect and trust but still having a form of authority, something she will need as a high school teacher.

Chloe works directly with Jessie Bayer (Customer and Facility Services Intern) and helps her with staffing, scheduling, and really helps to keep Jessie organized.

“She is also usually the voice of reason among our team during discussions, and is always striving to find compromises that benefit everyone,” said Jessie.

Chloe goes above and beyond on her job and her staff truly appreciates her just the way she appreciates them.

“She is continuously finding ways to help our staff improve and to support them, even inviting them to her house for breakfast to show her appreciation,” said Jessie.

Ron Siliko our Senior Director of Customer Services & Facility Management expressed his gratitude for having Chloe in the Rec staff team.

“Chloe is a kind-hearted, vocal leader who has a great ability to communicate and build relationships with all types of the customers that use the Rec Center,” Said Ron.

Pat Fagin our Customer Services Coordinator said: “Chloe is always upbeat and has endless energy which is quite contagious”.


By Dania Puente,  Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant


Student Staff Spotlight on Owen Bressler


Senior Owen Bressler is one of our Rec student managers majoring in Small Business Commerce and is part of the Miami University ROTC program. Owen has been working at the Rec since the summer of 2015 where he started as customer service staff.

Now as a student manager his job consists of cross-training between all student positions (informal, pro-shop, and reception) and he is often in charge of a variety of projects within all areas. Additionally, he assists our Customer & Facility Services Assistant Director Beth Keith with the SilverSneakers® program. Over the summer Owen takes on different projects such as helping with our Golden Community and assisting with memberships.

Jessie Bayer is the Customer and Facility Services Intern and Owen’s supervisor

“Owen is an incredibly hard worker and really goes above and beyond for our patrons” shared Jessie.“He takes extra time to really get to know them and tries to learn at least one fact about every single one of our patrons, and really forms a sense of community here” she added.

Beth Keith and Owen work together in various projects “His attention to detail and determination to deliver exceptional customer service to our members is unparalleled by his peers. I don’t know what I would do without him!” said Beth.

When asked about his favorite part of the job, Owen said that it is interacting with and meeting new customers. “I really like knowing the patrons so I created a list with their names on and one thing about them,” he said. He keeps that list in his wallet so he can go through it when needed.

“The coolest thing about my job is getting to know the patrons, knowing their name and that they know yours”  he expressed.

This past summer Owen underwent field training to become a Second Lieutenant in the air force after graduation next Spring. He believes that the leadership and mentoring experience that he received at the rec will help him in his future position, where he will be leading between 60-120 people.

Owen stated “getting to know people individually is very important for the job that I’ll be doing in the future” which he has certainly experienced here at the Rec.

A piece of advise that Owen would like to give to future student managers is “treat it more than a job, treat it more than just swiping cards or being at the pro shop or just working for money”.

He expressed that students should get as much experience out of this job as much as they can, that “it is the best job on campus”.

“The things you do today will influence what you’ll be remembered for tomorrow,” said Owen and he wants to be remembered for giving 100 percent every single day.

By Dania Puente,  Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant

Pickleball For Fun!  A Highlight of our Pickleball Workshop and Tournament


Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States and Miami University is trying to keep up with the trends.  Miami Recreation and Employee Wellness teamed up this summer to offer a Pickleball Workshop on Monday’s and Friday’s for our faculty, staff, and retirees.  We had an outstanding turnout and we are so thankful for Celine Walton with Employee Wellness for setting it up.  We also couldn’t have been successful without our tremendous instructors, Tony S., Kathy S., Joanne W., Jim B., and David K.

On September 12th we also had the pleasure to host the Oxford 2018 Masters Pickleball Tournament.  We had over 20 participants come out to compete in the tournament for fun and a big congratulations to the winners, Chris A., Tom K., Joyce H., and Joanne W.  This was a great collaboration with our community and we enjoy hosting a portion of their Masters Games each year. 

We reached out to Tony Shepherd, one of our pickleball instructors, dedicated members, and the author of the weekly pickleball newsletter.  He has been playing pickleball on a regular basis since 2014 in Richmond, Indiana.  Prior to his retirement, Tony secured a $100,000 grant from the State of Indiana Division on Aging in 2011.  He used the grant to build pickleball courts in five communities in east central Indiana to promote health and fitness in an innovative way among older adults.

Tony retired in 2016 with over 40 years of experience in executive administration and the last 28 years were spent at Indiana University.  He found the Miami Recreation website had indoor pickleball listed and was played most mornings.  He immediately secured a membership and started participating regularly.  Tony found that although there were few players at that time, they were friendly and welcoming.  A list of interested individuals was developed from Oxford, east-central Indiana and surrounding communities and he began to send his weekly pickleball newsletter.  He also created the Facebook page “Pickleball for fun and fitness” so everyone could stay connected and engage further interest.  “With the wonderful assistance of the Rec Center management, we also began to offer clinics for new Players.  These joint efforts have resulted in an ‘explosion’ in the number of players,” says Tony.

What has pickleball meant to you or changed your life? 

“Pickleball has significantly improved my overall physical fitness health and social wellbeing. Specifically, my doctor visits show a reduced Blood Pressure rate, lower resting heart rate, weight loss with improved strength, balance and endurance. The individuals who play pickleball at the
Rec. Center are great to be around and all very helpful and supportive to new players. Pickleball is a multi-generational sport and it is a bonus when some MU students, children and grandchildren join us for play.”

What would you recommend to someone who is interested in picking up the sport of pickleball?

“If you are interested in playing pickleball at the Rec Center you can usually come on any morning Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 and/or attend a pickleball clinic.  Paddles and balls are furnished so all you need are “gym shoes” and an interest in fun and fitness.  We also have weekly information on our Facebook page.”

Do you have anything else you would like to mention about pickleball or your experience here at Miami Rec sports?

“The Miami Recreation Sports Center is ‘state of the art’ for fitness and the best venue in this region for playing pickleball year round, however, the best of all is the welcoming atmosphere exhibited by the
friendly staff, administration, and pickleball players:  You do meet the nicest people playing pickleball!”

We want to sincerely thank all of the help of our instructors, Celine Walton, and the Employee and Wellness Staff and everyone who came out to the Pickleball Workshops this summer and a big congratulations to all of the competitors in the Oxford 2018 Masters Games.

By Beth Keith, Customer & Facility Services Assistant Director

Beginning a New Chapter: A Closing Interview with Gabby Kinnamon

Gabby Kinnamon has been the Assistant Director of Club Sports here at Miami University Recreation for three years. While at the Rec, she oversaw 55 teams and 1,500 athletes, ranging from their daily operations to facility bookings. Additionally, she was in charge of the Youth Gymnastics Program which consists of recreational classes and training for ages 2-14 and directed the competitive cheer and gymnastics team.

When we asked Kinnamon who has influenced her the most while working at the Rec, she quickly answered without hesitation, Mike Arnos, Senior Director of Programs and Academic Partnerships. Kinnamon and Arnos shared a desk for nearly a year, and she explained how those circumstances allowed them to get to know each other on both a personal and professional level. “He’s done so much for me, whether it be opportunities, or simply answering questions, he would always drop whatever he was doing to give me an explanation and help me understand areas I was struggling with,” said Kinnamon.

One thing that surprised Kinnamon about working at Miami University in general is the amount of support and appreciation club sports and all organizations receive from the University President and his wife. She explained how they somehow attend nearly every event on campus and always the kindest and most genuine people. Kinnamon felt like she had immense support from the entire university when working with club sports and that was a very encouraging and motivating feeling.

Working at the Rec wasn’t always easy, and Kinnamon discussed thoroughly how those trials taught her about herself helped her grow professionally. She planned and helped Miami host the ORSA (Ohio Recreation Sports Association) state conference this past year, which spanned the course of an entire weekend and held hundreds of individuals, all while attending graduate school and working full-time. Although these tasks were extremely difficult, she expressed how she could not have done any of it without the amazing support from her fellow staff members. “The people you work with truly make your job, and I although I loved my job, I could’ve absolutely hated the actually work I was doing, but still would have stayed here solely for the people,” said Kinnamon. She never felt like she was actually working simply because she was able to come in everyday and surround herself with true friends and supportive individuals.

Kinnamon wants to express to anyone who may work at the Rec in the future that if you give the job and people a chance, good things will come your way. “Don’t fear getting to know people, don’t sit in your car and eat your lunch. You have to put yourself out there, everyone is so great. Get so involved and try new things because you get to learn and work with so many different people,” she said.

In concluding the interview, we asked Kinnamon her favorite moment while working at the Rec, in which she responded by telling us that it didn’t actually take place during any of her schedule shifts. She told us about her wedding and how many of her co-workers traveled two hours away from the office, to help support and celebrate her special day. She stated that she was convinced that she had the best group of friends and coworkers around.

One of the most difficult things about leaving she says is that she will miss all her friends and will miss seeing the growth of the young and ambitious club sports teams and individuals she has hired and worked with over the years.

Zach Moore, Marketing Account Manager for Campus Services stated how great of a coworker and friend Kinnamon was. “Gabby’s contribution to the Miami Rec Center and Miami itself is seen by the countless stories that her students, colleagues, and friends tell about how she inspired them, motivated them to be their best and to make a difference in not just our lives but those around us,” he said. “She made everybody smile and made every day that much better.”

Thank you, Gabby, for your infinite contributions to Club Sports, Youth Gymnastics and Miami University Recreation as a whole. Your passion, personality, and dedication has and will continue to inspire many for years to come. We wish you the absolute best at your new position as a Program Assistant for Ohio State University and will miss you greatly.

By Emily Comos, Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant 

5 Ways To Stay Active Over The Summer in Oxford

Summer is a unique time on Miami University’s campus, as very few students and faculty members are still here. But if you are one of the ones that has chosen to either take classes or work while living in Oxford, then you know how tough it may be to stay active and healthy. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite ways to get outside and exercise here in Oxford while still enjoying the freedom of summer. From right on campus, to the outskirts of town, there are plenty of ways to stay active and have fun doing it!

1. Visit Hueston Woods State Park

Hueston Woods State Park is located just over 10 minutes from Miami University’s campus. This slightly hidden destination serves as a getaway for students to enjoy recreational activities especially in the summer. Whether you’re looking to book a tee time for a day on their beautiful golf course or rent one of their boats including pontoons, canoes and paddle boats, Hueston Woods is the perfect way to enjoy the summer sunshine and get away from the bustle of campus. The Miami University Outdoor Pursuit Center also offers various boat rentals that can be used at the state park. Follow the links below for more information on boat rentals, hiking, disc golf and other recreational activities. 

2. Disc Golf

If you’re not looking to travel off campus for recreational activity but are still looking for a way to enjoy the outdoors this summer, look no further than Western Campus for Miami University Recreation’s very own 18-basket Disc Golf Course. Walking the 1500 foot course full of hills and wooded scenery will simply take your breath away. You can also enjoy some outdoor art installations found on the course near the Miami University Art Museum. The course is completely free and open 24 hours a day. The link below will take you to the map and downloadable scorecard.

3. Swimming

The Corwin M. Nixon Aquatic Center at Miami University’s Recreation Center consists of an eight-lane, 50-meter pool, and a separate 25-meter dive well, containing 1m, 5m, 7.5m, and 10m platforms, a leisure pool, and a spa. Here you will find students, faculty and Oxford residents exercising, relaxing and enjoying this world class facility. The summer is an especially great time to beat the heat and the regular semester crowds while getting a great workout in at the Rec Center. To learn more about special programming, classes and facility hours, follow the link below. 

4. Sand Volleyball

The Sand Volleyball courts at Miami University’s Recreation Center may be tucked behind the building and sometimes forgotten but they are regulation sized and ready for you to Bump, Set and Spike on! These courts are open for use starting at the end of March through December 1st and are a fun way to get your friends or family together for some competition. They are also used for Intramural Sand Volleyball during the school year. 

5. Group Fitness Classes

Although many students head home for summer break, many of our group fitness instructors are still here preparing for your return. There are also a handful of classes still offered during summer term including Total Body Tone, Spinning and Yoga. Staying active during the summer can be especially tough, so don’t try to tackle it alone and join us here at the Rec Center for some great group workouts. Visit the link below to read more about class descriptions, class schedules and pricing of group fitness membership packages.

By Emily Comos, Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant

Student Staff Spotlight on Meg Rux

Hometown: Chicago, IL

 Majors: International Studies and Strategic Communication

Minors: Spanish and International Business

Meg Rux, a senior graduating in a few weeks, is one of our most loved group fitness instructors at the Rec. This year, she had the honor of being voted Group Fitness Instructor of the Year by her peers. She is extremely passionate about her job and truly cares about her students’ wellness, that’s why we wanted to learn more about her before her bittersweet departure.

When did you become a group fitness instructor?         

I finished my training after sophomore year, so I started teaching Kickboxing my junior year.

What’s your favorite class to teach?

This semester I’m teaching Kettlebell, Kickboxing, and Hard Core Abs, so out of those, my favorite is definitely Kettlebell. However, of all the classes I’ve taught, I think my favorite is Cardio Blast.

What’s something valuable that you’ve learned during your time here at the Rec?

One thing for sure would be adaptability because a lot of things change, either when you’re in class, right before class or on day-by-day schedule. I have a good team working with me, in addition to Shannon who is a great mentor, and both have helped me learn to take things as they come. I have also learned that when it comes to class, getting that endorphin high can change anyone’s mood. I really think getting your endorphin high has a great impact on me and on the patrons I teach.

What’s the thing you like the most about the REC?

I like that it has a really good sense of community. Outside of teaching, I always run into people that I know from class or people that work in the Rec, or people I’ve met over the last four years. I think it’s a good central hub for everybody.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced working here?

Going back to that comment of adaptability, anything can change, anything can happen. Sometimes the microphone won’t work, sometimes I have more people than I  anticipated, so if I had a class planned out, having to change things last minute to accommodate for space and equipment.

How would your students/colleagues describe you?

Loud! Definitely loud.

What’s your dream job?          

I could do this forever, that would be great! With my Strategic Communication major I’ve earned a lot of experience coming up with content roadmaps, social media management, writing, anything along those lines if I could do that for a health and wellness company, that would be perfect.                                                               

What are you most passionate about?

I really like the idea of being unapologetically happy. How you define that is very different for a lot of people, but I am so lucky to work here at the Rec and to be with the people I work with and the patrons I teach. Seeing them want to come to so many classes and seeing how they light up, but also seeing how happy I am at the end of class is great. I love seeing that fitness does bring happiness to a lot of people.   

What’s your life’s biggest dream?

A lot of my friends joke it’s not a question if ill have a gym, it’s when I’ll have a gym? Having my own gym would be a fantastic dream. On the other hand, because of my International Studies major, I’ve studied abroad and been in a lot of countries. Therefore, currently on the top of my bucket list is hiking Machu-Picchu.  


Interview by Dania Puente, Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant

Student Spotlight on Cody Kenyon

Cody Kenyon is a Miami University freshman from Toledo, Ohio. He is majoring in Sports Leadership Management and has become a loyal Rec Center patron. Cody strives to show that a disability doesn’t create limitations. His passion, motivation, and desire to help others are admirable and that’s why the Rec marketing staff wanted to learn more about him.

When did your fitness/sports passion begin? 

Around junior high. That’s when I started to get exposed to other kids and I started to want to fit in. Basketball became my passion, I fell in love with the sport and I wanted to play as much basketball as I could.

What motivates you to work out every day?

I know that whenever I step on the court,  people will obviously give me a different look because of my leg. I tend to use that as motivation because people are going to look at me as if I’m different no matter where I go. I feel that it’s my job, I represent everybody with a disability out there. I view this as promoting awareness and letting people know that we don’t want to be treated differently and that we can play ball just like anybody else.  

Has the Rec helped your health in any way?

Yes, it’s definitely nice having an indoor court and having a facility to lift and workout, it has certainly been useful. Otherwise, I would be sitting in my dorm doing push-ups.

What do you like the most about the Rec?

I would say the indoor courts, it’s nice to be able to play with everybody. Obviously, there are times where it’s nice to have the gym for myself and I know what are some good times to come for that. Yet I know that I can also come and play with a bunch of people and get that experience of playing with a team.

How would your friends describe you?

If they were describing me, nothing would ever come up about my leg, because people that I associate myself with don’t see me as being different. For example, a lot of people when they see me playing basketball say “oh you’re pretty good for a guy with one leg”, my friends would just say I’m pretty good in general.

What are you most passionate about?

I’d have to say, the people that I care about. When I was growing up, I always tended to put other people before myself. I’m passionate about caring for the people that care about me: my family, my girlfriend, and everybody back home. I like to make sure that they’re well and that everything is good with them.  


Interview by Dania Puente, Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant