Charter Member: Gwen Hyatt
When you’re looking for top-notch continuing education and specialized training in fitness and wellness you want to go with an expert with passion. Look no further than Gwen Hyatt, President of DSWFitness, Center for Continuing Education. Since the age of 4, Gwen has had a passion for sharing the joy of physical activity. “When that joy is an integral part of your lifestyle, it is easier to mentor and facilitate others to make positive behaviors changes.”
In 1980, when Gwen was starting her business, she was positively influenced by Mary Mayta, a pioneer in education and training for fitness professionals. Mary was an outstanding educator and motivator.
In all the challenges of running a business, through the constant evolution of fitness and wellness over the decades, Gwen has remained committed to endlessly work to make the world a healthier place through the engagement of physical activity.
In the early 1980′s there was a need for specific training for those wishing to teach aerobic dance. A Physical Education degree was about the only formal educational training that offered any teaching experience at the time. The theoretic and applied knowledge of a Physical Education degree was important, yet it didn’t prepare trainers to teach fitness and aerobic dance to adult students. The opportunity to design and deliver education and training for fitness professionals was huge. The delivery model was on-site, all over the U.S. or wherever the passionate early adopters were.
As always opportunity was countered by challenges. How could we prepare enough quality aerobics instructors? The solution was to develop comprehensive and relevant workshops that contained theoretical information but also applied to the fitness professional’s career. Gwen was there with her pioneering content and workshops.
In 1988 things changed – her son was born and she didn’t want to travel so much. Gwen began the task of developing home study courses that could be completed via distance education. Research proved over time that distance education was a very effective way to teach and learn. When the content was good and presented in a manner that the learner could use independently, retention was solid.
From the early days when on site and face-to-face teaching and training was the norm, to the high-tech world of vast choices for connecting, communicating and teaching Gwen works to balance all of the educational modalities. There are so many more ways to deliver content and engage students today, and from the smile on Gwen’s face it seems that the joy educating others has only increased.
One of the most popular course titles offered by DSWFitness has been Winning Sports Nutrition, with a strong theoretical component on how it relates to exercise and performance. Applications and case studies complement theory. Curriculum design in all the continuing education courses offered by DSWFitness are consistent and provide foundational content that allow each professional to customize class design and training programs, personalize performance cues and modify delivery to meet the needs of their clients.
Clients with Type 2 Diabetes face unique challenges. We are fortunate to have Gwen and her insights and experience to guide our program development and training for this condition. Specialized training is needed when working with clients with chronic disease and co-morbidities. The social, emotional, physiological changes, gout or foot problems, blood sugar monitoring and the hypo/hyper glucose status are all factors that must be considered in effectively training this population. Implementing programs to promote physical activity for this population can reduce the onset of physical fragility, minimize the risks of and/or manage chronic disease, reduce the use of medication, improve quality of life and reduce health care costs.
According to Gwen, “Moving toward the wellness model is timely because the health care industry is shifting from a complete disease treatment model and integrating disease prevention and management programming and strategies”. The research is overwhelming that physical activity can prevent many chronic diseases.” The cost savings can be huge when we take fitness out of the narrow focus and into the clinical model. Look for lots of great HCD training and programs with the leadership and expertise of Gwen Hyatt in our organization.