Fitness films focus on wellness

A video series by an MU professor focuses on health and fitness.
Sunday, July 31, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:01 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What pops in your mind when you think of an exercise video? The still-popular “Jane Fonda Workout Video for Exercise” with Fonda working out in her aerobics room and counting “one, two, three and four” out loud?

If so, the “Fitness and Wellness for a Lifetime” video series created by Stephen Ball would give you a different take on exercise videos.

Fitness is multidimensional, Ball said. “A lot of times when we think of fitness, people think of it as sports, but there are different components to fitness,” he said.

Ball, a state fitness specialist and assistant professor at the MU Nutritional Sciences Extension Association, said the series is more informational and the topics are self-explanatory.

“We go through different topics like how to exercise correctly, what’s safe and what’s not, and how to keep yourself motivated, rather than sitting in front of the TV and trying to exercise along with the video,” he said.

Ball began the video series project in 2002 and has completed eight videos during the past three years, each one lasting 20 to 30 minutes.

“In this series, we don’t focus on athlete performances, we focus on the general public,” he said. “There are really two different ways to look at fitness — there is skill-related fitness that deal with athletics, and there is health-related fitness that we are more focused on.”

Produced by the MU Academic Support Center, the series airs at 8 p.m. every Wednesday on Columbia Access Television. It is also used by the MU Human Environmental Sciences Extension and in a Web-based course led by Ball and Chuck Corbin at Arizona State University.

A class centered on the series will also be set up for people to check out the videos and, ultimately, earn college credit or continuing education credit after passing a test.

Although Ball does not envision the series making money through commercial sales, he still hopes to expand it by adding one video a year based on the original eight videos, producing on specific topics such as exercises for seniors.

“I write all the scripts and host most of the videos myself,” Ball said. “It’s kind of a fun thing to do, so I think the project will go on until we run out of money.”

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