1 million visits show fitness centers’ strong presence on campus

April 20, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- For almost half of the University Park student population, a regular stop at a campus fitness center is likely on their weekly agenda. Those visits topped 1 million last week as Campus Recreation Fitness and Group Fitness celebrated the attendance milestone along with the benefits of having fitness centers on campus.

“There are studies that have shown that people who lead an active lifestyle while they’re in college usually end up doing better in college as well because they’re mentally and physically healthier,” said Josh Davis, coordinator of athletic programs for Penn State Strength and Fitness. He sites general wellness and socialization as two important factors.

“Overall, exercise creates well-rounded individuals who are very aware of their bodies and their surroundings. It’s also a good community builder, too -- students are here with their friends and they’re also meeting new people,” he said. “It’s another great place for people to hang out instead of just being in their dorm rooms.”

Josh Davis and Mark Lozinski

Josh Davis selects the "Cathedral Cove" run on a Life Fitness treadmill while he and Mark Lozinski, both coordinators of athletic programs for Penn State Strength and Fitness, demonstrate new equipment in the Intramural Building.

IMAGE: Nathan Bevans

Mark Lozinski, also a coordinator of athletic programs for Penn State Strength and Fitness, added that the college years are a good time for students to establish lifetime routines. “The biggest impacts of Campus Recreation are stress reduction, healthy lifestyles, development of habits that students might carry on later in life and the long-term health benefits that can have.”

And many Penn State students have already taken advantage of those benefits. While between 6 and 7 percent of the general public keeps a gym membership and works out regularly, Davis said, a little more than 50 percent of the student body has a campus gym membership.

“We’ve noticed that Penn State has a very active student body compared to a lot of other colleges and the public, in general, if you look at the statistics of how many people have a gym membership and work out,” Davis said.

Each week, many of the 24,000-plus students and almost 1,000 faculty and staff with campus fitness memberships are making 38,000 visits (as of the end-of-January estimate) to one of three centers on campus — the Hepper Fitness Center in Rec Hall, the White Building Fitness Center and the Intramural Building Fitness Center. 

This wasn’t the first time that Campus Recreation has topped the million-visit mark, but it is the earliest that it has done so. The newly renovated Intramural (IM) Building has helped make that possible. The renovations have increased the fitness center’s capacity from 60 to 250 people, which has decreased lines and wait times.

Davis and Lozinski hope to see use of the IM Building increase, too, as members adjust their exercise routines.

“Any time we open a new building it’s a little bit slower initially because we’re trying to change people’s habits. They’re so used to coming to the existing facilities, so we’re trying to get them to try something new that’s a bit out of their comfort zone,” Lozinski said. “Since it’s a different location and setup, it usually takes a year or so before people will migrate to the other location. I think this upcoming fall with new freshman students, we’ll really see a shift.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 19, 2017