The University of Arizona has many resources for students. One of those resources is the fitness center. The Student Recreation Center is taking extra precautions to help make sure students still have access to the center while staying safe and healthy amidst a pandemic.
COVID-19 has altered the way people exercise. By closing gyms, people have been coming up with creative ways to keep in shape. The Rec Center adapted to the virtual world in order to keep offering ways for students to stay active.
“Before the pandemic, the gyms were always packed, the group fitness classes were at capacity and you could never sit outside on the mall without seeing someone jogging,” said Iliana Cosio, a first-year graduate student in cellular and molecular medicine.
According to the UA Campus Recreation website, the Rec Center is open with a 25% capacity limit with prior online reservation available through a website called IMLeagues. The app shows availability for the use of the pool as well as fitness classes both online and in-person.
On Aug. 31, the Rec Center started up the new operational protocols to ensure the safety of UA students and staff. Leah Callovini, fitness and wellness coordinator for the Rec Center, mentioned some of the changes. For example, some equipment from the weight room was moved to the volleyball court, so there is now an indoor and outdoor weight room.
Face masks are required the whole time and eight feet apart is the minimum length for social distancing inside the facility. The pool is only open for swimming laps and it requires a reservation.
Callovini also mentioned that many of the staff members are spending a lot of their shifts making sure equipment is cleaned after it has been touched.
“We are using electrostatic sprayers. We have purchased several of those … We’ve put up additional hand sanitizer stations all over the facility and outdoors,” Callovini said.
For the first three weeks of classes — from Aug. 24 to Sept.13 — the Student Recreational Center is offering free group fitness classes by Zoom and outdoors in person.
“I think anything free is a go! You would be surprised at how fast college students jump at the word ‘free',” Cosio said in an email.
Virtual classes are good alternatives for those who have busy schedules or don’t feel comfortable going to an in-person class.
“We’re building out even more online on-demand content, which is basically like where there’s a workout or a demonstration on an exercise that you can access at any point in time,” Callovini said.
This option will benefit students who can’t make the classes’ times, so they can just go on the website and take a 60 minutes class on their own time.
“I definitely do believe that working out releases stress,” Cosio said. “Working out also just makes you feel good about yourself. If you feel good, you do good.”
According to Ocasio, the university does not only focus on physical health, but it also promotes mental health by advertising workshops and resources students can use.
Lisa McDonald, a dietitian for UA Campus Health, explains how exercising helps the body to release endorphins, which decreases stress, depression and anxiety.
"UA Campus Health provides many services and resources for wellness that include medical, counseling and psych services, health promotion and prevention service, nutrition counseling and programs, and pharmacy," McDonald said in an email.
Besides all of the changes the world is going through, the UA keeps adjusting and promoting its fitness and wellness programs for the success of students.
For more information check out the UA Campus Recreation website https://rec.arizona.edu and follow them on social media at @uazcampusrec to get updates about their programs.
According to the Campus Recreation website, the NorthREC is tentatively set to reopen on Sept. 14.
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