PROFile: No barriers to movement

Andrea Smith, Instructor, Department of Kinesiology and Applied Health, U of W

Photo by Keeley Braunstein-Black

Andrea Smith has a bachelor of physical education degree and has been a kinesiology instructor for the past 13 years. She has lived within a 10-block radius from where she was born in River Heights all her life.

Smith says she wanted to specialize in seniors’ health and fitness, “because both of my grandparents learned how to swim in their 70s, and I wanted to help other seniors become more active.”

Smith brings the aspect of inclusivity to her teaching. “Inclusive physical activity means that anyone and everyone – no matter their skill or ability – can participate. There should be no barriers to movement for anyone, ” she says.

Interacting with students from different backgrounds brings Smith the most joy in her work. “I truly enjoy the varying perspectives based on students’ different lived experiences. To open the eyes of someone else through class discussion and study is extremely valuable,” she says.

Regarding the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith asks “How are we spiritually connected to our communities? What about our occupational and environmental health? Our interpersonal health has been rocked by COVID and technology, and the most salient health topic at the moment is our mental or brain wellness!”

Smith’s course content focuses on holistic health based on the seven dimensions of wellness. They include spiritual, intellectual, environmental, vocational, social, emotional and physical.

“I show students these aspects and help them understand how to be balanced in the dimensions,” Smith says.

“Students should be leaving my courses with an understanding of holistic health for themselves and how they can help others.”

What do you like to do in your spare time?

“I spend time at my cottage, training my dog (who is a jerk) and with my six children and husband. Also, (I’m) currently hooked on The Good Place on Netflix.”

How do you incorporate wellness in your own life?

“I am very aware of all aspects of my personal wellness and put behaviours in place that help me stay balanced. Activity and sleep are priorities, as are continued learning, serving others and being a steward to the environment.”

Where do you see yourself in five years?

“I will be in the exact same space in five years! Still teaching these or similar courses (and) ensuring students are aware of all populations that they are able to work with.”

Published in Volume 76, Number 17 of The Uniter (February 10, 2022)

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