With online classes keeping most students inside all day, it becomes a matter of getting creative for students to stay fit.
For students living on campus, Rams Head Recreation Center has been the only gym open throughout January, and it has a sign-up system that can be frustrating to some students.
To use the gym, students must reserve a spot 48 hours in advance to maintain the center’s reduced capacity, according to the Campus Recreation guidelines on their website.
“Every time, I set an alarm on my phone two minutes before the sign up is available, but the website crashes as soon as it hits the time,” first-year Jenna Barnes said. “And my registration never goes through because it fills up within half a second.”
Many other students have also voiced their complaints about how the gym is functioning.
“I think it’s great that Campus Rec is making sure there aren’t too many people in the gym at once, but it’s frustrating that they won’t open other gyms to accommodate the high demand,” first-year Sheena Meng said.
Barnes and Meng both feel like they are not getting the most out of the facilities available at UNC that they need in order to stay fit and healthy.
“My friends have recommended getting a membership to Planet Fitness or Life Time, but I feel like my tuition money is already going to the campus gym, so why would I spend more?” Barnes said.
The Student Recreation Center also opened Feb. 1, allowing more students to take advantage of on-campus gym space and equipment.
Campus Recreation is also offering fitness classes, in addition to activities offered at the Outdoor Education Center.
“All of our classes have limited registration, and we have 10 by 10 blocks of spaces that people will have to stay in once they arrive at the classes, as well as sanitizing stations and everything to clean all of the equipment with before and afterwards,” said Josh Tucker, senior assistant director of marketing, communications and external relations.
Because options on campus are still limited, Barnes and Meng have joined other students in finding creative ways to work out in their residence halls and around campus.
For Meng, she has started going to the climbing wall located in Rams Head and even running steps at Kenan Stadium.
Barnes said she has been staying active while on campus by using online platforms.
“There are a lot of really great home workout videos on YouTube by Chloe Ting and others that are free and that I can do in my dorm room,” Barnes said. “And I also use the Nike Run Club App when I go on runs around campus to keep track of my fitness and stay committed.”
It has been hard for many students during the pandemic who rely on group exercise to stay fit and accountable.
For senior Kristen Bertolino, she gets the majority of her exercise through dancing with Blank Canvas dance company, a club at UNC.
“I cannot motivate myself to work out no matter how much I've tried the last 10 months,” Bertolino said. “But if I know I'm going to go dance with all my friends for a while or go to a workout class with a bunch of other people, it's more motivating and I feel more empowered than when I'm just doing it by myself.”
Exercise helps students stay healthy not only physically but also mentally.
Campus Recreation’s mission is to provide programs and events which "enhances the social, mental and physical well-being of the entire University community."
“At the beginning of the pandemic, staying active helped my mental health a lot, so it’s something I try to maintain especially while on campus,” Meng said.
The directors of Campus Recreation are continuing to work on adding more ways for students to stay active safely.
“It's an ongoing conversation that we continually have each week as to what we can do safely and in the best interest of the students and safety for the whole Carolina Community,” Tucker said.
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