Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. College and university students have embraced this exciting activity that combines long-distance running with scaling walls and climbing across overhead ladders. Training for the sport itself, however, has been largely conducted inside health clubs or campus recreation centers – in many cases alone or in one-on-one sessions with a trainer.
This is an outdoor sport, a community event and a social, competitive experience. Training for it should be no different. As a campus recreation team, you can help your students prepare for obstacle course racing, and for other obstacles to health and wellness, by providing outdoor fitness areas that create an experience similar to what they will encounter on an OCR course.
Consider installing a composite fitness system that provides a whole body workout for multiple users in a compact space near the wellness center or gym. You can also install fitness equipment such as climbing walls or overhead ladders along a walking path or jogging trail to simulate an OCR course.
If additional equipment isn’t in the budget right now, think of the equipment you have in your gym or wellness center that you can bring outdoors: med balls, resistance bands and tubes, kettle bells, etc. Look for areas of the campus that can be used for HIIT – stairs and hills, for example. The idea is to get students outdoors and to get them moving.
Scheduling group classes outdoors will free up space inside your facility and provide specific benefits for your outdoor participants, such as increased serotonin levels – which improves mood and lowers anxiety. Studies show people who exercise outdoors workout more frequently and for longer periods of time. It also encourages personal interaction among students and promotes diverse social capital on campus.
College students have plenty of challenges ahead of them, most of them bigger than those found on an obstacle course. Providing a suitable space for them to exercise outdoors isn’t just a good idea to help them train for a race. It’s a positive step to helping them train for the rest of their lives.
Kent Callison is the director of marketing for GameTime, a leading manufacturer and designer of outdoor fitness equipment and OCR courses. To reach Kent, call 423-648-5604 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit gametime.com/fitness.