Posted on May 26, 2017 by Gordon Smith
All universities are now expected to nurture student wellness. Wellness encompasses both a healthy body and a calm mind. The ultimate aim is for the students to be at optimum physical and mental health to allow them to fully commit to their studies and to get the most out of their university experience.
We have previously explored employee wellness in our blog, and how improving physical fitness has been proven to have a positive impact on physical health and mental wellbeing. Making sure you look after your employees benefits the bottom line. Naturally, the same advantages can be seen among students.
Aside from the student already having a sporting hobby, there are generally two other motivations for students to hit the gym.
Alleviation of stress
Many students use exercise to clear their head before a major exam or deadline. Also, according to an article by Studyright.net, regular exercise increases your memory and cognitive performance and helps with stress management via the release of hormones such as endorphins.
“A large part of anxiety and stress for new students is making friends and building up a social life,” explains Nick Sadler, Director of motive8. “Exercise in the gym makes those barriers disappear and it’s easy to find people who have something in common, whether they both like cycling or weight lifting.”
Young people are especially susceptible to the ubiquitous images of the body perfect that surround us. Gyms can be a great place for them to work out and feel good about themselves; it can also be a crucial place to be able to influence them and guide them towards realistic and healthy fitness goals.
However, some students will still be reluctant to head down to the gym and break a sweat.
“Just calling it ‘a gym’ can sometimes put a lot more people off because the name suggests that that is all it is,” says Nick.
“There may be as many as 45% of people who would never consider using a gym but would be very interested in any number of different classes.”
Encouraging people to see the gym as a wider centre for ‘student wellness’ is essential to both getting students through the door and to secure engagement from attendees. Many colleges employ part-time staff who are also studying at the university, who in turn become evangelists, spreading word of the great classes and programmes in your student gym.
To offer a well rounded service for your students, make sure your gym timetable works in more holistic activities such as yoga, Pilates and meditation. You could even take advantage of the recent trend to blend high impact training with meditation and kill two birds with one stone. Another option, if you have the flexibility of space, would be to house student counselling services within or near to the gym.
If you’re interested in encouraging student wellness and incorporating more holistic elements into your gym design, get in touch for a free consultation.