Above and Beyond: Taking More than 8 at State

NC State offers a wide array of fitness and wellness classes that aim to encourage a healthy lifestyle among students. One Health and Exercise Studies (HES) Department initiative is the ‘Take 8 at State’, encouraging students to take eight credits of health and exercise studies instead of the required two.

One student decided to go above and beyond, taking more than 12 HES courses during his time at NC State. In his final semester, senior Minh Nguyen is taking the following seven HES courses:

  • HESF 102 Fitness Walking
  • HESF 105 Aerobics and Body Conditioning
  • HESF 107 Run Conditioning
  • HESF 111 Indoor Cycling
  • HESF 112 Fitness Kickboxing
  • HESS 251 Archery
  • HESS 279 Yoga I.

Nguyen is taking these classes in addition to the final lecture classes he needs to graduate. Reflecting on his motivation, Nguyen notes, “I was motivated to improve on my current health and get in better shape before I left college. I began taking fitness and wellness in the summer where I first learned about target heart rate zone. I saw an improvement in my physical condition over the one-month class period, so I wanted to stick to an exercise regimen for my last semester at NC State. I took seven courses to force myself to stick to and maintain a schedule of regular exercises”. 

Nguyen also states he enjoys seeing noticeable differences in his health and self confidence. “I think it was the improvement I saw in myself each week that kept me on track; there is also the overall good feeling I felt after I finish a run that made it enjoyable,” claims Nguyen. This new routine did not come without its challenges. Nguyen notes he felt pain in his feet and stiffness in his calves during the first few weeks of adopting his new workout routine. To address this challenge, Nguyen added cushion to his shoes and he used his yoga class to aid in relieving the tightness in his legs. 

“I think it was the improvement I saw in myself each week that kept me on track; there is also the overall good feeling I felt after I finish a run that made it enjoyable.”

Wolfpack Wellness outlines some of the benefits of regular physical activity as improved muscular and bone strength, improved mental health and mood, weight control and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and more (“Move Well”).

Nguyen remarks he found it easier to sleep after a day of physical exertion. He also indicates the intrinsic rewards elevate this experience. “The small achievements I had made the experience enjoyable, like finishing my first 10k run in 1 hour and 5 minutes or walking uphill without breathing hard. My friends and coaches were also very encouraging and supportive of my endeavors”.

As Nguyen prepares to graduate, he plans to use what he learned to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.  “I want the consistent and regular exercise routine I’ve developed over the past semester to remain with me throughout the rest of my life. I plan to go out and do more things like running a marathon and other things that make me feel better afterwards. Overall I want the effort I’m putting now into my exercise to carry over into my working life,” says Nguyen. He explains he hopes to develop character and good exercise habits in addition to the will to go out and do something beneficial to his health during the rest of this semester. 

Nguyen has already begun to take his learned skills outside of the classroom, participating in the City of Oaks Marathon. Nguyen’s dedication to his health and wellness is precisely the goal of the HES Department: Educating a globally diverse NC State population regarding the benefits of living a healthy and physically active lifestyle by providing equal opportunities and professional preparation in sport, fitness, health, and recreation. We want to highlight Nguyen’s amazing commitment to his health by sharing his outstanding efforts!