Elon University / Today in Elon / New fitness field designed to meet growing needs for outdoor training space opens on campus

The outdoor fitness field, designed by the National Fitness Campaign, has more than 30 training equipment and is set to become a staple on the Elon campus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left us with many changes in daily life that seem to have become our “new normal”. One of those many changes happens to be the way we stay fit.

The drop in gym memberships has been common during the pandemic as people have spent a significant portion of the past year and a half in self-quarantine and did not feel the need to resume memberships once restrictions were relaxed and ultimately lifted.

The fitness center has seven movement zones and exercise advice using QR codes.

Even outside of gym memberships, Americans’ overall physical activity declined 26% from 2020 to 2021, according to a survey conducted by RunRepeat. The same survey found that there was a 14% increase in the number of people turning to outdoor exercise activities.

To respond to the fear that some have of returning to gyms or closed training areas now that COVID-19 cases are on the rise again and those who have completely given up physical activity, training areas in full swing air seem to be the solution. And the outdoor fitness field on the Innovation Quad at Elon University is the university’s answer to this problem.

The San Francisco-based National Fitness Campaign (NFC) is the fitness ground’s parent organization and was founded in 1979. By 2022, the company plans to operate in more than 1,000 cities and colleges. Elon became one of these university partners in 2021.

According to Larry Mellinger, director of Campus Recreation & Wellness, the decision to partner with NFC was made after noticing the growth of the university’s fitness program, which is the fastest growing area on Campus. Recreation & Wellness, and the growing popularity of boutique style and fitness outdoors.

“We connected with them a few years ago, and the timing just wasn’t right,” Mellinger said.

The center was created thanks to the collaboration of the Student Government Association, with the vice-president of student life, Jon Dooley, at the head of a committee whose objective would be to improve the outdoor spaces of the campus.

“This project has come to fruition thanks to this committee,” said Mellinger. “Which, from my perspective, is amazing because it goes through the students, through a committee of students, faculty and staff. It’s also a great partnership with the Government Student Association.

The fitness field is about half the size of a basketball court and features seven stations – core, squat, push, lunge, pull, agility and flexion – for a seven-minute workout that can be completed on multiple circuits and over 30 body weights. equipment. The court has the capacity to accommodate 18-24 people at a time.

It also has a QR code that directs the person training to the Fitness Court app. On the application are various workouts accompanied by a pre-recorded virtual trainer who will go through the different exercises.

In addition to the fitness field, which is completed and currently open for use, there is a half-mile track on the same lot along Haggard Avenue, which was once Elon Elementary School.

After preparing the site to lay the concrete slabs and make sure all surfaces were level, the court itself only took three to four days to set up. NFC sent its own team to build the fitness field, which was customized for Elon.

Mellinger said the fitness field is a prime example of the decentralized model used by Campus Recreation & Wellness in recent years. The Koury Center is the main facility, Mellinger said, but the goal is to have several smaller satellite facilities scattered across campus.

Each of these satellites serves a particular niche for the area of ​​campus where they are located, and the idea is not to replicate their certain qualities.

“As we continue to grow, if there is a need for fitness or other outdoor spaces related to recreation and fitness on campus, it could be [the fitness court] or it could be something a little different that offers another nuance, ”Mellinger said.

“I predict it will be incredibly popular,” he said. “But popular enough to replicate it elsewhere on campus, maybe not.”

The last thing to set up is a water bottle filling station on the fitness court. With the field being outdoor, there will be no mask warrant in place, although there is a mask requirement to use the Koury Center.

The grounds require minimal maintenance and need no shift watch, but a member of the campus recreation and wellness staff will be visiting the grounds several times a day to sanitize the equipment.

A grand opening of the fitness field will take place on Tuesday, September 7 at 5.30 p.m. for all teachers and staff who will demonstrate all the capabilities of the equipment.

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