Spotlight: Fitness as a way of life, not just a job
In an environment full of stress and long work days, sometimes a trip to the gym is all that is needed to relax and recharge.
At least that's what Deb Webb believes.
Webb, the senior associate director for the Department of Recreational Sports, works at the Central Campus Recreation Building (CCRB), where she oversees the management of all three Recreational Sports facilities on campus. She started working at the North Campus Recreation Building (NCRB) in 1978, worked her way over to the Intramural Sports Building (IM) in 1980 and eventually landed at the CCRB.
Webb completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Maine, and her master's in physical education with an emphasis on recreation (the program now known as kinesiology) here at U-M. Her interest in fitness developed as she was growing up in Lewiston, Maine, where she says, "There was always a huge amount of kids in our neighborhood. We played football, softball, anything we could get a team up for."
Her lifelong interest in exercise and staying active continued during her college years, not only at Maine but at U-M, where she became involved in the intramural program. Really involved, one could say.
"One thing I'm very proud of here is that one year I got the Marie "Pete" Hartwig Award for all-around female athlete of the year," Webb says.
And after nearly 20 years of martial arts training at the University, she remains dedicated to fitness.
"I do cardiovascular workouts five times a week and weights a couple of times a week," she says. "My latest passion is avid golfer, but I also like hiking, biking kayakinganything that gets me outside."
This dedication is why she believes it's important to "give people as many choices as possible" with regard to physical activity.
The three campus facilities offer drop-in programs, with cardiovascular machines, swimming pools, weight rooms and basketball courts, as well as intramural sports programs and club sports programs for those who enjoy staying active in a team setting.
The University has increased greatly its selection of cardiovascular and weight machines, intramural sports and club sports over the years. When Webb first arrived here, the CCRB, NCRB and IM building only had upright bikes, hydra-fitness weight stations and dumbbells for people to use in workouts. Now, the facilities have more than 12 kinds of cardiovascular machines and more than 25 types of weight machines. The IM sport program has expanded to include broomball, wallyball, dodgeball, ultimate Frisbee and bouldering, and the club sport program now has 42 sports.
"I think folks generally work out more today than in the past as we become more aware of the benefits of exercise," Webb says.
She cites the Active U Program as a great example of faculty and staff striving to increase their activity levels. It started last year and was a great success, she says. Webb reports that nearly "8,500 participants registered, with 83 percent of them logging in their exercise minutes."
Totaled up, this equals 6.8 years, 2,482 days and 59,000 hours of exercise. Webb says she hopes that "with this type of emphasis continuing, many more folks will become regular users of the recreational facilities. Currently, about 3,100 faculty and staff members have membershipswhich cost only about $20 a monthto the on-campus facilities.
During her workdays, Webb has come into acquaintance with many members who work out regularly.
"One individual who I see at the CCRB every morning has commented that students who have classes with him know better than to schedule office hours with him until after he has gotten his workout in for the day," she says.
Webb enjoys her work very much, and believes the best part of her job is that "I'm able to walk around, see activity and watch people enjoy doing what they're doing."