Tips to successfully navigate the crowds at the rec centers

Friday, January 7, 2022 Tips to successfully navigate the crowds at the rec centers

Students exercise on the step machines and ellipticals at the Rec & Wellness Center on East Campus. (photo by Craig Chandler | University Communication]

The first few weeks of the spring semester are always the busiest time of the year at the rec centers.

Cold weather, new year resolutions, and not-yet-busy schedules have students swarming to the indoor facilities, sometimes leading to heartache and frustration at how crowded the spaces can be.

Here are 11 tips for navigating to success as the semester begins.


Use multiple locations.

Remember there are rec centers on both City Campus and East Campus — switch it up if you are able. Students living in the residence halls also can use the fitness rooms in Harper and Sandoz Halls.

Bring a face covering with you. You'll need it unless you're in the pool, the shower, a supervised group fitness class or working out on cardio equipment.


Come earlier in the day.

The morning hours are the least-busy times. The rec centers open at 5:45 a.m. Monday–Friday and 9 a.m. on the weekends.


Be flexible in your options.

Ok, so all the treadmills might be occupied when you arrive — try something new! A run/walk of the same distance on the indoor track or in Cook Pavilion expends the same number of calories as the treadmill.

A couple extra hints:

  • Ask a staff member to recommend other equipment to do a similar exercise. They’re present to help you navigate the space.
  • Walk around the different areas and levels of the rec centers to locate open machines. Cardio equipment can be found in various spaces throughout the buildings.


Exercise is not limited to machines.

Switch up your approach. Use the terms “physical activity” or “body movement” to allow you more creativity in your thinking about physical well-being in your life. Regularly playing a sport, swimming, the golf simulator, and rock climbing at the OAC’s climbing gym are great ways to tone and strengthen your entire body without gym equipment.


Free Group Fitness Week

January 18–24, 2022 is the annual Free Group Fitness Week when you can try any of the group fitness classes without a fee. Barre, strength, yoga and indoor cycling are just a few of the options you and your friends can check out together. Follow these instructions to secure a spot in a class through the Mindbody app.


Use your personal technology.

When you arrive at the rec centers, it might be busier than expected. In a pinch, grab one of the black workout mats hanging on the walls and then queue up yoga, strength, and stretching workout videos on YouTube or a fitness app to create a personalized workout with your phone.


Go outside when possible.

The weather in January and February is notoriously bitter and potentially gross. Yet, it also can be surprisingly pleasant. Take advantage of warm sunny days by getting physical outside.

  • Outside basketball and tennis courts are sprinkled throughout campus.
  • The Fitness Court outdoor workout zone is located at 17th & R St (across from the Knoll Residential Center). Download the easy-to-follow app for a variety of workouts to maximize your use of the court and equipment.
  • Fit Box is located next to the Rec & Wellness Center at East Campus.
  • Run, walk, and cycle on Lincoln's vast network of walking and biking trails.


Explore yoga and stretching.

While cardio may be your primary focus, there are great benefits to increasing your flexibility and strength training. Explore yoga poses to strengthen your core or target specific muscles. While it may appear low-intensity, you’ll feel the burn afterward and achieve increased benefits with regular practice.


Sign up for an intramural sports activity.

Playing sports is physical activity, and the group atmosphere keeps you motivated and energized while making new friends with shared interests.


Snowy days are for outside intensive workouts.

Snow is a great resistance trainer for runners and endurance athletes. With 3” or more of snow on the ground, rent cross-country skis and snowshoes from Outdoor Adventures Center for a completely different type of intensive workout.


Join a sport game already in progress.

The indoor multipurpose courts and fields will be busy with pick-up games for basketball, volleyball and soccer. Don’t delay the chance to play. Instead of waiting for a court to clear, ask to join a game already in progress.


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Want to participate in more fitness and sports?

Make plans to attend the in-person Campus Rec Involvement Fair from 6 to 8 p.m. January 18, 2022, inside the Campus Recreation Center (Courts 7 & 8).

Students can sign up for more than 30 spring intramural sport activities and chat with members of 15 sport clubs about how to join their groups and competitions. The outdoor adventures, fitness and wellness programs will be there too, showing the fun and exciting spring opportunities students can choose — including three Spring Break adventure trips.

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