Meet Emily Shimko, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor, Health Sciences
Get moving in Dr. Shimko’s Fitness Sampler class this fall, offered as part of Adventures in Lifelong Learning, a membership program for individuals 50 and better.
Course: Fitness Sampler
Tuesdays, Oct. 19 to Nov. 16 | 2:15 to 3:15 p.m.
Dr. Shimko is a certified exercise physiologist, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and registered yoga teacher. Previously she worked as a personal trainer.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from Slippery Rock University, and a master’s in exercise physiology and doctorate in healthy and physical activity from the University of Pittsburgh.
What do you hope participants take away from the Fitness Sampler class this fall?
I hope that participants find one or more fitness classes that they enjoy and would like to participate again in future semesters. Although we will not be able to offer every type of class each semester, we hope to use this initial feedback to drive future iterations.
In addition to accumulating some exercise minutes in their days, I hope that participants will feel more energized and make social connections with their peers in class.
What kind of environment can participants expect?
Expect a welcoming and nonjudgmental environment. Each person is coming with their own goals and previous experience. Although I am always excited to push participants to work harder, there is no shame in listening to our bodies when we need to slow down.
We all have days when we might be feeling tired, sore or stressed and need to take it a little easier, just like there are days when we want to push our limits a little higher. Participants should feel comfortable taking modifications and asking questions when needed.
What advice do you have for beginners?
Have an open mind! If you had a not-so-great experience in a fitness class before or don’t think you enjoy a certain style, give it another try. Talk to the instructor before and after class.
If you have any concerns, don’t be afraid to let us know. Remember that this is your class, and we want you to enjoy it. We want to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
What inspires your passion for fitness?
I’ve been on the move since a young age. My mom enrolled me in dance classes at the age of three because I wanted to go to Jazzercise with her. So, I guess I was destined for group fitness!
As I progressed through high school and my undergraduate degree in dance, I started to develop more of an interest in the fitness side of it. Through continued graduate study and multiple certifications, I came to appreciate the benefits of exercise for physical and mental health.
Now I love being able to share that knowledge and passion with our students of the University and Center for Lifelong Learning.
What do you enjoy most about teaching group fitness classes?
I’ve engaged in fitness instruction as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and I have enjoyed them both. I’ve loved making personal connections with the participants along with providing guidance to meet their goals.
With group fitness there is a comradeship among the participants in the class, and being a part of that is special. I get to watch them develop supportive relationships and encourage one another.