Diversifying Your Cardio Floor


Today’s campus recreation centers attract diverse populations, from beginning exercisers, to intramural/recreational athletes, to active aging adults. Of course, the better the rec center meets the needs of a variety of exercisers, the more valuable an asset it is to the campus community. The good news is that more options exist today than ever before when it comes to cardiovascular equipment, which can effectively accommodate a wide range of exercisers, preferences and goals.

Predictably, facilities almost always include standard treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes, which certainly are effective for many different users, including students, faculty and staff. In fact, some rec centers opt for convenience in ordering these machines from a single equipment manufacturer. However, taking advantage of multiple cardio modalities from various manufacturers not only better meets the needs of a diverse population, but generates energy and excitement on the cardio floor, which translates to greater adherence and more return visits.

Beyond traditional cardio equipment, consider newer innovations such as incline trainers that complement treadmills; lateral and recumbent ellipticals; fan bikes like the classic Schwinn® Airydne®; and cross-trainers and alternative motion trainers. Rowers, upper-body ergometers and total-body climbers like VersaClimber® also are valuable for niche interests and cross-training.

Even adding a few different machines translates to a return on investment, particularly as expectations rise among regular rec center patrons.

Benefits of Cardio Machine Variety

Greater interest. Adding different machines fosters more motivation and buzz on the cardio floor, along with additional opportunities for staff to interact with students, thereby enhancing the experience.

Cross training. Although people are creatures of habit, exercisers today understand that cross training is valuable to get results, feel better and reduce the risk of an overuse injury. The body responds better to a variety of stimuli and is less likely to plateau with different challenges. Diverse equipment makes cross training simple. 

Increased motivation. Exercisers who enjoy specific modalities are more likely to be adherent, meet goals and see results. Plus, cardio equipment with a variety of programs and coaching options helps guide users, and built-in entertainment can keep them going longer.

Different preferences. Offering different brands of fitness equipment gives users a broader choice of built-in workouts, entertainment options, display console interactivity, extra features like app interactivity and more. With only one brand, students miss out on the opportunity to benefit from the many advances in programming. 

Broad appeal. Although young students may prefer to hit workouts hard, older campus professors and staff, who may be coping with limitations and injuries, can take advantage of different machines to suit their individual needs, rather than simply resorting to a stationary bike because it’s the only seated option.


Ryan Simat is the vice president of sales at Octane Fitness. For more information, contact the company at octanefitness.com or sales@octanefitness.com.

Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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