Helping students live balanced lives

Exercise improves mental and spiritual growth

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 

I Corinthians 6:19-20

An active body equals an active mind. It’s a fact Adventists have long known. But a growing body of scientific reasons says the same thing. For example, a 2013 Purdue study showed a direct correlation between using the university’s wellness facilities and increased grade point averages.

Ellen White understood this and penned these words more than 100 years ago: “Vigorous exercise the pupils must have. Few evils are more to be dreaded than indolence and aimlessness.” (Education, p. 210) 

More recent studies by both University of British Columbia and New York University demonstrated that regular aerobic exercise physically increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. Researchers also discovered accompanying improvement in cognitive abilities in both children and adults who engaged in regular aerobic exercise.

We aspire for Union students to develop lifelong healthful habits that impact their studies, careers and ability to follow God’s calling for their lives. In scripture, Paul explains the importance of fitness in pursuit of spiritual growth. 

“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” I Corinthians 9:27.

“For me, being a part of the gymnastics team was a great way to stay in shape and build strong friendships. But I also really appreciated the systematic break built into my day when I was on the team. For those two hours of practice I didn’t have to worry about homework. I could be there in the moment and not have to stress out about papers, assignments or tests.”

Michael Cabrera
graduated from Union in 2019 with a degree in computing and now works for Aviture, a software engineering firm in Omaha, Nebraska.
photo Michael Cabrera
Photo of Larinda Fandrich

Larinda Fandrich, assistant professor of nursing, leads Union College’s Warrior Wellness program

Teaching balance

At Union, we believe that success in life depends  on learning to stay physically fit just as much as academic training and spiritual development. That’s why we have launched the Warrior Wellness program to help students and employees take advantage of the fitness facilities Union offers and develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

“Living a healthy and active lifestyle is a critical part of following God’s calling in our lives,” said Vinita Sauder, president of Union College. “Warrior Wellness has formalized our efforts to make wellness fun and engaging, and a central part of the experience at Union College.”

Larinda Fandrich, assistant professor of nursing, leads the effort. Her extensive experience in health care and passion to help students live full and balanced lives will help guide the development of wellness programs that provide new and better ways for students to learn healthy habits that will last a lifetime.