UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Recreation collaborated with the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District to host two outdoor fitness sessions on Feb. 26, offering two Zumba sessions and a beginner’s lesson in hula-hooping.
The joint events began last spring as an effort to utilize park spaces in I.V. and get the community engaged with outdoor activities, according to Christine Burleson, the Recreation Center’s instructional and enrichment coordinator.
“IVRPD reached out to us, [and] they needed some help with activating the park spaces,” Burleson said. “This fall we did a cornhole tournament, which was hugely successful and super fun. We have another program area called the Adventure Programs with recreation, and they’ll do a Saturday [event] each quarter. ”
The event on Saturday began with a Zumba session that ran until 11:45 a.m. and then switched to a beginner’s hula-hoop class that ran until approximately 12:30 p.m. The day ended with another Zumba session that ended at 1:00 p.m. The Zumba sessions consisted of three parts — a warmup, a work phase and a cooldown — and involved repetitions, world beats and visual cues to guide participants and keep them engaged.
Burleson expressed her excitement about the opportunity to offer Recreation Center activities in an outdoor environment and in partnership with the broader I.V. community.
“It’s fun to bring what we do into the community where our demographic lives,” she said. “Sometimes it’s good to go outside of the Rec Center walls and do things that we know that are [relatable] and fun and that we can do in a park. Just pop it up in the park and we don’t need the Rec Center to do it.”
UCSB’s recreation department also has other activities ongoing at the Recreation Center, such as pottery classes, hiking, walking, yoga, pilates, pickleball, tennis, ballroom dancing, salsa dancing, Afro-Brazilian dancing, hip-hop, belly dancing and outdoor cycling.
“We provide students with an opportunity to connect in a different way without the classroom to find a new skill or fine-tune an old one,” Burleson said.
The recreation department also provides students with online resources to engage in fitness activities, like monthly curated Spotify workout playlists and weekly workouts posted on its Instagram. The department uploads videos for Thrive On Thursdays, which “aim to connect the body and mind,” and have Thursday lessons where they teach followers how to use gym equipment, according to Burleson.
The two organizations have future joint activities slated for the upcoming spring quarter, including a Greatest Hits training class on April 18 at Little Acorn Park and an upcoming bouldering and slacklining event. Registration for all spring quarter programming will open March 7.
“We’re going to be doing a Greatest Hits class which is high-interval, high-intensity interval training, and we’re going to have 10 stations all over the park and do circuits with one of our hit instructors,” Burleson said.
“Our Get up GAUCHOS! and Gaucho REC programs will always be focused on fitness out here, and then I believe that adventure programs on a different Saturday are going to be bouldering and slacklining,” Burleson continued.