IU Recreational Sports is having its 11th annual Celebrate EveryBODY Week from Feb. 24 to March 2, a campaign encouraging positive body image and mindfulness.
RecSports, the IU Health Center and IU Body Project will organize events and activities around campus throughout the week to promote body appreciation and spread awareness of body image issues and eating disorders.
“We wanted to make sure in our facilities that people felt strong and confident and that they weren’t coming in just because they needed to look different or because they felt bad about themselves,” said Katie Landrum, Recreational Sports coordinator for fitness and wellness.
The IU Health Center will also celebrate the week by offering specialized training and education programs to its staff about body image and eating disorders. The two topics are connected, said Chris Meno, psychologist and outreach coordinator at the health center’s Counseling and Psychological Services.
“Based on research, a majority of people who develop eating disorders start off by disliking their body and wanting to change it,” she said. “Therefore, having everyone try to focus on improving body image is a way to chip away at reducing eating disorders.”
Recreational Sports staff will don purple shirts. Positive quotes and encouraging messages will adorn signs, mirrors and exercise equipment to celebrate the week’s message of healthy body image.
Recreational Sports, CAPS and IU Body Project will set up tables in the Student Recreational Sports Center and around campus handing out T-shirts, stickers and other promotional items. Students are also invited to add notes saying what they love about themselves to a mural inside the SRSC.
Junior Taylor Slayback has worked with RecSports for two years. She said she hopes the week promotes healthy habits and reminds people that everybody and every body is strong.
“When you walk into the locker room, you see girls looking down at the scale and worrying more about what that number says rather than being proud of what their body can do in the gym and being able to get there and move,” she said.
A new addition to Celebrate EveryBODY Week this year is Sunday’s Empower Hour, a way for people to learn more about the SRSC’s strength gym.
Participants are invited to explore four stations featuring machines, squat racks, bench presses and kettlebells to become more comfortable with the equipment.
“If you are not used to working out in the strength gym we want to give you an opportunity to feel confident in there,” Landrum said.
In addition to Empower Hour, the SRSC and other Recreational Sports facilities will celebrate the week with a special “Rock What You Got” dance class and a women’s only swim session.
“We know not everybody likes lifting weights or going to the pool, so we try to have a variety of activities,” she said. “But wherever you go, whatever you’d like to participate in, you’ll see a positive message somewhere and hopefully you feel like you’re welcome.”