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Blog # 5: An Overview and Position in Defense of Fitness Center Hour Extenstion

Filed under: Uncategorized — Megan Clements at 7:37 pm on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

 What’s the Deal and What’s the Problem?

Health and wellness are not all-together new ideas in American culture. Being fit and happy is a goal that many strive to achieve for different reasons. Longwood University is a college community that recognizes the benefits to a healthy mind and body and because of this they have established a health and wellness center of their own back in 2007. The center houses a plentiful variety of cardio and weight equipment along with a track, basket ball court, rock climbing wall, fitness classrooms and even a clinic and counseling center. The fitness center is the main focus of this discussion. Some students have voiced the opinion that the center should extend its hours later so that students may use the facility at their leisure. Having hours extended will help rid students of unwanted stress, which they experience daily due to the rigorous college lifestyle. An extension will require the cooperation of the fitness center staff…

Some view this extension as a good thing, while others see it as something time-consuming or a waste of money. While some students and staff view the proposed extension as a good opportunity to create jobs on campus and a contribution to student well-being and fitness, others find the extension impractical due to the necessity of late-night/early-morning workers and the question of funding. Both sides have valid points. Those for the extension will benefit either from having the chance to work more and obtain more money, by being a student who relies on the fitness center for health and wellness reasons or by being a fellow student who by default will reap the benefits of having happy and healthy peers. The downfalls to this extension could mean later shift hours and a slightly higher cost in maintaining the facility, along with liability issues. In examining the feasibility and possibility of an extended hour gym, a solution may be met.

A small step in the right direction may simply mean a test run of hour extensions in which the center would run the 3-4 hour extension during the school week only. If that fails to procure late night/early morning visitors and usage seems stagnant, then perhaps the fitness center is already meeting student needs. We cannot ignore the voices out there though that suggest and support the idea of fitness center hour extension.

Should the Gym Extend Its Weekly Hours?

Yes. However, there will undeniably be real costs in extending the fitness center’s hours. However, these costs will not seem so bad when compared to the grander scheme of things. The fitness center is supported and certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED, which means the facility is efficient in both water and electricity among other aspects . If we keep in mind that the extension would only require less than half of the facility to function for the 3-4 hours extension (the lower half of the facility which houses the cardio/weight floor) the cost would not rise too much. As far as student jobs are concerned, the extension would only require two student workers on the extended shifts. So, again not much money will be lost.

As a student that uses the fitness center on a daily basis, I understand the importance of this extension. What the extension means for many students is that they will have greater access to an area which will allow them to exercise, which in turn means they will be healthier physically but also mentally. Last week I suffered from terrible food poisoning, so bad that I broke my daily gym routine (GASP! indeed). For many, the big deal may not be apparent and it wasn’t exactly for me either until I went to the gym for the first time in over a week this Tuesday. Before that, last week and over the weekend, I felt awful- not just sick but sluggish, unmotivated and more stressed than usual. I suffer from a diagnosed anxiety disorder so this build up in my mind and body. I could not believe how much better, refreshed and rejuvenated I felt after only 30 minutes high intensity on that elliptical! The day flew by! I felt amazing; a big smile on my face all afternoon. The difference in feeling made it so much easier to face my classes. What I’m getting at is that the benefits of exercise are real, not only physically but psychologically.

 Many students, especially late-night gym-goers, seek out the center as an outlet to de-stress; it helps them focus and gets rid of tension. If I am not mistaken, the goal of the center according to its founding President Dr. Cormier was to shape mind, body and spirit, so extending hours will help this goal. If hours can be extended, if only by a few hours, it will make all the difference in the academic lives of stressed students. Sometimes all you need is an hour to step away from the Bio-Chemistry midterm or that Psychology research paper in order to compose your sanity and continue.

Exercise contributes positively to the decrease of stress. One place we all know is a breeding-ground for stress is the college campus. Whether you are a teacher, staff member or student you have witnessed the negative effects of this stressful environment. Campuses function differently than other work environments because the workers (the students) function non-stop. The gym needs to consider longer hours because stress does not just stop after the last class of the day. It continues long into the night.

Plain and simple: Exercise is a good way to reduce stress, and college students are stressed. If that’s the case, then the fitness center should elongate its hours.

Megan Clements

4 Comments »

32

Comment by Kathleen Wilcox

October 12, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

Megan, I LOVE your blog! It is so well designed and the theme of it is really nice. I also really enjoy the topic you have chosen. I was a gym-a-holic my freshman and sophomore year- I was there at least once a day, everyday of the week. If the hours had been extended then, I would have had a much easier time getting instead of picking between going to the gym and doing homework. You have a really good idea here that has potential. Maybe one more thing to include would be the gym over at Lancer Park. They have instated some new rules which restricts when people can go to the gym. This poses an issue to a lot of students who have class during these times or meetings and work. I am really excited to see how this go through with your solutions. Great job! 🙂

37

Comment by Megan Clements

October 23, 2013 @ 10:38 pm

Apparently here at the Village there is talk of extending the hours too! I just found that out yesterday…sooo I am confident that my issue is something being talked about on campus.Do you know what the new hours are/would be for the Park? Curious! And yes, at first I was considering a full blown extension but now I’m narrowing it down to just a trial run for the main campus facility- if that works then it would be reasonable to have a permanent extension and if that is successful I could see suggesting the same or something akin in the two apartment complexes.

34

Comment by Michelle McMaster

October 17, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

I really like that this blog you are emphasizing the stress college students have and using the gym as an outlet because I think this will be the most effective way to persuade students and faculty.
I know you mentioned trying to set up an interview with the gym’s manager, did you ever get into contact with them? I am curious about how student gym workers feel about a possible extension.

36

Comment by Megan Clements

October 23, 2013 @ 10:35 pm

Still working on the interview! I will let you know how that goes. I’m curious too and the information will really help.

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