Bill Lundberg

Lundberg’s Lifelong Lessons: Physical Wellness and Fitness

Written by Emma McCormick

Coach Bill Lundberg has been head coach of men and women’s cross country and track for twenty-seven years. He recently transitioned into teaching the core class Physical Wellness Dynamics, which is dreaded by some, loved by others, and full of life lessons no matter the opinion.

Physical wellness teaches students about the health aspects of fitness and asks them to participate in weekly active labs that feature anything from mountain biking to running circuits to cross-country skiing. The idea for the course developed over time and is continually changing.

Although there are other good professors who teach physical wellness, Coach is the one most people know.

“I’m at the center of it,” he said, “because I teach one of the lectures and almost all of the labs. That was the goal, that I would be there to encourage and connect with a lot of our student body.”

The course came about as part of the College’s wellness initiative, which Coach was to be a part of from the get go.

“President Arnn said, ‘Let’s have Lundberg lead our kids. He can get out there and work out with them, try to lead them, and use his enthusiasm.’”

And that’s what he does.

“I have 160 to 170 students a semester,” Coach said. “It’s very much a part of my life. Fridays are crazy right now, with an 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 lab.”

Because Coach participates in everything he has the students do, he sometimes ends up getting in seven workouts. “If the students mountain bike—that’s three to four miles—that’s almost thirty miles for me,” he said. And as the students learn, so does Coach. “I never mountain biked before this wellness initiative. Road biking was something I did. With mountain biking, it’s not if you’re going down, it’s when you’re going down.”

Another focus of the course is the book Spark by Jon Ratey. As Coach Lundberg explained, “It is about the effects of exercise on the whole person.” Spark teaches the connection between the mind and exercise, which has the amazing ability to prevent diseases and improve quality of life.

“It’s all about what we can do to keep up our health and enjoy the outdoors,” Coach said. “That’s why I’m so fired up to be a part of it. It’s benefitting me surely, but it’s also benefitting the students…. You don’t want to live sixty or seventy years and have no quality of life. I bike with people over seventy, and I struggle to keep up with them. I want to be like that when I’m seventy.”

If anyone can inspire students to learn to love the outdoors and physical activity, Coach Lundberg can. The physical wellness class completes Hillsdale’s liberal arts requirement, because, as we know, “We want to keep working on the whole person here.” And Coach was quick to remind me that being physically aware and fit has long-term effects.

“It’s something we can do for our intellect, and to really enhance our memory and our motivation,” he said. “To be healthy is more productive in the end and can lead to better results.”

Emma McCormickEmma McCormick, ’19, is an economics major from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where she loves to get outside to hike, camp, and ski. She started the Outdoor Adventures Club to try to keep that up in Hillsdale. She is the Public Relations officer of Praxis, and an RA in Olds Dorm. When she isn’t studying, or working at AJ’s, you might find her outside running.