There are gyms all over Santa Fe at which you can swing a kettlebell, do squats until your butt falls off, or even watch Cake Boss while monitoring your calories burned. But if you want to join a basketball team or learn how to perfectly execute the butterfly, it may be time to go back to school—the community college, that is.
Between its credit and continuing education offerings, Santa Fe Community College has classes in a range of sports from Brazilian jujitsu to advanced golf.
“We’re happy to keep Santa Fe moving,” Continuing Education Department Director Gordon Fluke says.
COED BASKETBALL, taught by Gerald Clay
It's OK if you don't live to watch Lakers games or know what a layup is, Clay insists. He says all ages and skill levels are welcome. The first classes of the semester are devoted to learning the fundamentals of the game and what each position does on the court.
"First, we try to get everybody on the same page," Clay says. "Once everybody's on the same page, it's more fun and it makes more sense."
Clay, who was actually the first full-time instructor at the college's fitness center, has taught ages 17 to nearly 70. One of his older students has been coming to the class since 1993.
"What you lose as you get older is raw speed, but you gain knowledge," Clay says.
Players do drills and conditioning and work up to game play. In the spring semester, they divide into teams to create their own mock NCAA final four tournament and "really start rockin'," Clay says.
Be sure to bring nonmarking shoes and a locker padlock or an ID to rent one.
BEGINNING and INTERMEDIATE PILATES, taught by Leslie Jackson
The discipline of Pilates has, since its invention in the early 1900s, spawned a lot of variations, such as aquatic pool-lates and cardio-lates with an aerobic bent. In her classes, Jackson tries to focus on the classic time-tested movements that help build core strength, body alignment and balance.
Jackson's beginning Pilates class is for just about anyone; in 10 years, she's seen only a few people with certain health problems for whom it wasn't a good fit. Give it a few weeks, she says, and the benefits will start to show.
"If [people] come on a regular basis, they should expect to feel a lot better after two to four weeks as far as alignment, feel much more confident and have learned how to stabilize to help them through their daily activities," Jackson says. "It's about flexibility, stability and toning."
The beginning class is one hour, twice a week, while intermediate is one 90-minute session per week.
After a semester of beginning, many students move on to intermediate Pilates, which uses more props such as stability balls and magic rings. What you learn from Pilates translates into better movement and positioning for just about any physical activity, Jackson says.
"Once you learn how to align yourself using Pilates, you can go into a weight room, and you already know your form that keeps you free from injury," Jackson says. "It's very beneficial; the professional ball teams use Pilates for pre- and post-workout and for injury management."
People with back problems also benefit from the strengthening that comes from Pilates.
“They learn how to use their core, which helps stabilize them,” Jackson says.
BEGINNING, INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED SWIMMING, taught by Tomas Duran
If the last time you attempted the backstroke in public, you were mistaken for an epileptic manatee, Duran might be able to help.
Beginning swimming is for those who need to polish their strokes a little more before going into an intermediate class, but it's also for people who are actually afraid of the water and are starting from scratch, Duran says. First, the class focuses on breathing, balance and confidence in the water; eventually, students learn the strokes—including butterfly.
"Every term, I have at least one student who is completely petrified of the
water—no deep-end activity—and by the next term, they're doing intermediate," Duran says.
While the beginning class lasts an hour, intermediate goes for 90 minutes. Students work on four strokes (breaststroke, backstroke, freestyle and butterfly), plus kick turns and diving, and get a good cardio workout along with physical conditioning. People training for triathlons who have some basic swimming skills often take this class, or the advanced version if they're already part fish.
In the advanced class, participants get the benefit of underwater videotaping to refine their form, and practice competitive drills, like a swim team. In addition to an eight-lane, 25-yard pool, the community college also boasts a warm water therapy pool and instructors certified in working with arthritis sufferers.
"We offer a lot of creative options, and we always seem to be busy," Duran says.