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Students get creative in response to limited gym appointments

| Wednesday, March 17, 2021

With COVID-19 restrictions limiting the number of gym appointments available on campus coupled with the unpredictable winter and spring weather forecast of South Bend, students’ workout habits have changed.

To adhere to campus protocols, RecSports created a reservation service with different time blocks that help control the density of people in facilities. However, lower temperatures have increased the demand for an indoor space to exercise. 

In response to these challenges, RecSports rolled out new protocols to expand facility access. 

Beginning Feb. 22, RecSports added four additional time blocks per day to both Rockne Memorial and the Smith Center, enabling 700 participants to utilize the Smith Center each day and 280 participants to utilize the Rockne Memorial each day. 

Courtesy of RecSports
A student works out in the Smith Center in Duncan Student Center on campus.

RecSports also announced a no-show policy that applies to people who reserve a spot at a RecSports facility but do not check-in and attend their reservation time. This is meant to encourage participants to cancel their facility reservation in order to make it available for someone else in the Notre Dame community if they are unable to attend their original reservation. 

“The goal is for as many members of our Notre Dame community as possible to utilize our facilities while maintaining a safe environment that adheres to COVID guidelines set forth by the University,” assistant director of RecSports Kendra Bayne said. 

While these changes have helped increase facility access, reserving a gym appointment is still a challenge for some. As a result, Notre Dame students have found other ways to stay active this semester.

Some students have taken to working out in their dorm rooms.

“Working out is a huge part of my daily life,” first-year Shannon Lyden said. “And so, when it became difficult to make a gym appointment, I started doing Peloton workouts in my room.”

While the average dorm room doesn’t offer the same space and equipment of the RecSports facilities, many students have made do with the current circumstances. 

“I even ordered a set of dumbbells from Amazon to keep in my room,” Lyden added. “It’s not ideal, but it works.”

Other students have looked to off-campus options for a space to exercise and have found gym memberships at nearby fitness centers.

“I got a gym membership at Planet Fitness,” first-year student Molly Lynn said. “When I go, I borrow a friend’s car and drive about 10 minutes from campus to get there. I like being able to exercise whenever I want, so this seems like the best option for me.”

Additionally, some students are braving the cold and have decided to exercise outdoors despite low temperatures.

“I have always loved running outside, so instead of going to the gym, I’ve been throwing on an extra sweatshirt and going for a run,” first-year student Sidney Peña said. “At first, I missed going to the Smith Center as often as I used to, but now I have grown to love running around campus.”

Peña said the flexibility required to maintain a regular exercise schedule is similar to the broader flexibility demanded by this past year.

“Being a student during a pandemic has taught me that I have to be flexible,” Peña said. “And so, when it became hard to get gym appointments, I adapted and found new ways to work out.”

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