One recent study published in the Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, and Practice revealed a positive and significant relationship between recreation facility use and retention. Retention was 7.1 to 8.4 percentage points higher for full-time undergraduate users who come at least once a week versus non-users.¹
That’s good for the university and for students, too. Research has long shown the correlation between exercise and energy, mental clarity and emotional well-being. However, a growing area of study is consistently showing correlation between campus recreation and GPA. For example, one study found that high campus rec users were 3.1 times more likely to have a high GPA (≥3.8) versus low users.2
With wide-reaching implications for both your university and your students, it is more critical than ever to find ways to engage students. Leaders in fitness continue to add new and exciting solutions. One area that captures the attention of students is sustainable fitness. Sustainability has gone well beyond a buzzword and become a value that is embraced by nearly everyone. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 37 percent of Generation Z listed climate change as a “top concern.”3
More than a decade ago SportsArt changed what could be accomplished through movement with the introduction of ECO-POWR™, the world’s first energy-generating cardio equipment. More than simply a commitment to sustainable fitness solutions, ECO-POWR™ is a tangible expression of the company’s passion for innovation. Today, this groundbreaking line of energy-generating equipment has expanded to offer green-minded students fresh experiences that match their socially conscious values.
Offering a variety of cardio equipment is only part of the solution. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends a mix of cardio and muscle-strengthening for adults between 18 and 64 years old. In the summary for the second edition of its Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion states, “To attain the most health benefits from physical activity, adults need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking or fast dancing, each week. Adults also need muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups, at least 2 days each week.”4
Strength equipment meets the needs of a wide variety of users and facilities. From the casual exerciser getting into better shape to the committed athlete, strength workouts on dedicated strength equipment have become a necessity.
Install machines that feature biomechanically correct design that accommodates users of any fitness or experience level, delivering measurable, targeted results in the shortest amount of time possible. And, of course, each machine should be built to last in the most demanding fitness environments, with heavy gauge steel oval tubing, Kevlar-reinforced belts, internally lubricated cables with deep-channel pulleys and sealed bearings.
Some companies also offer a plate loaded series. By combining key ergonomic factors, such as independent movement arms, diverging/converging motion paths, and adjustable seats, chest pads, and backrests, this durable equipment is not only built to last but built to meet the workout needs of its users.
For recreation facilities where space is a concern, look for equipment that will meet the space needs as well as features that give complete workout opportunities. The compact footprint helps to avoid visual clutter in smaller spaces, while adjustable seats and range-of-motion limiters ensure movements are comfortable and biomechanically correct.
While a wide range of cardio and strength equipment helps engage most students, it’s also important to make any recreation facility an inclusive and welcoming space. Use equipment that offers a wide range of options for differently abled individuals to work out as well. Whether for rehabilitation or recovery or other physical challenges, look for equipment that includes treadmills with extended handrails and extra cushioning, a recumbent cycle with added flexibility for rehab variants, and an ergometer that helps seated, standing or wheelchair users strengthen their upper body.
Of course, if a company does not believe in the socially conscious and inclusive values it promotes, then it won’t be long before partners and users move on. Use a company that believes that it is their responsibility to serve customers, partners, and the planet.
In a university recreation landscape that is constantly evolving, colleges and universities can’t simply meet a growing list of needs—they’re proactively advancing to deliver the right mix of effective and engaging fitness solutions in ways that others simply cannot. For those that share their passion for serving others, looking forward and meeting challenges head-on, make sure that every workout inspires performance for your university, your students and for our shared world.