On May 4, University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) Recreation (UREC) opened a new outdoor fitness court near the school’s rec center. The court provides students and members of the community quick access to a full body workout in under 10 minutes.
Tricia Losavio, the director of UT Dallas UREC, said the department had the idea for the space a few years ago, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused the project to be put on hold. The vice president and chief of staff for UT Dallas then approached Losavio last summer about the installation of an outdoor fitness court.
“I began to do some research and remembered the National Fitness Campaign partnering with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas to offer grants for new construction of outdoor fitness studios,” said Losavio. “Our student population has increased significantly in the last 10 years, leaving UREC in need of new space. Since expansion isn’t an option at this time, we looked for something creative for students to use outside.”
The UT Dallas Fitness Court Studio is the first to launch in Texas. It’s now fully accessible to approximately 31,750 students, and 3,000 faculty and staff on campus.
Fitness Court Features
UREC’s outdoor studio contains standard equipment and elements focusing on seven exercises in seven minutes. There are many variations of these exercises which can be found through the National Fitness Campaign’s app or just by creating your own.
The seven stations included in the development are:
The outdoor fitness court studio is twice the size of a standard fitness court and provides over 2,000 square feet of healthy space. Classes such as yoga, Pilates, Zumba or stretching can also take place in the area as the court can be utilized simultaneously for group and individual workouts.
Workouts are adaptable for all fitness levels, allowing participants to move at their own pace. Users can download the free app which acts as a coach in their pocket and enhances the outdoor gym into a digitally supported wellness experience.
Feedback, Benefits and Advice
Losavio said the reaction on campus to seeing the new space has been nothing but praise and disbelief. “It’s disbelief that something like this outdoor court is available to our students at any time,” said Losavio. “Our fitness staff is excited to offer classes and trainings incorporating the seven elements. In addition, there is a studio side that can be used for individuals to stretch and cool down after a workout.”
Losavio said the ability to offer a new variety of programs will further compliment current programs and services while providing new ideas. She advised other departments considering adding similar outdoor fitness spaces to be patient with the timeline.
“Don’t rush into the project,” said Losavio. “There are a lot of moving parts and all stakeholders from facility management to upper administration need to be involved. This is a big investment. Making sure to cross all the t’s and dotting all the i’s is very important.”
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