How to improve student well-being and mental health has been a conversation amongst educators for years. There is a positive correlation between students who perform well academically and those who spend time outdoors, and administrations are investing more into programs, services, and amenities to enrich the student experience and, ultimately, create a mentally, socially, and physically healthier student population.

Over the last 3-5 years, campus recreation directors and administrations have looked at adding outdoor fitness equipment to benefit their students. Outdoor gyms on college campuses are becoming more common as there may be times when indoor gyms are shut down for extended periods (thanks to COVID-19 for making this a reality), and there are undeniable benefits of engaging in physical activity in the fresh air. A student can reap many benefits from sitting outdoors, let alone exercising. Therefore, it is only fitting that exercising outside will maximize a person's physical, emotional, and social health in more ways than running on a treadmill in an indoor fitness center.

Below are frequently asked questions and comments from campus recreation professionals about how to maximize the return on an outdoor gym and the benefits received by users. 

women running on school track
apollo multigym

What is the best location for my campus's outdoor gym?

Adding an outdoor gym close to your indoor recreation center or near the sports field will encourage routine exercise amongst students as it is in a place students and staff already associate with fitness and wellness. This is a model location because it makes it easy to align with your current indoor programming, group and personal training, monitor usage, decrease the likelihood of vandalism, and be accessible to your student-athlete population. Outdoor fitness equipment will be better utilized if it is an extension and complement to your current indoor recreation offerings. 

apollo multigym

Can I differentiate my outdoor gym from other college outdoor gyms?

Outdoor fitness equipment is a unique amenity that more schools are adding to their campus every year. As it grows in popularity, it will be essential to differentiate your outdoor gym, so it stands out and provides better exercise features than your rival school. Make sure your outdoor fitness equipment is biomechanically correct and has exercise stations that mimic those found indoors. Outdoor fitness equipment that delivers real exercise results will promote continued usage of the equipment. Customizing the outdoor fitness equipment in your school colors and adding logos is a fun way to add more school spirit to the community.

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Why will outdoor fitness equipment benefit my students?

Outdoor exercise is more accessible and inclusive than traditional indoor exercise. For many people, indoor gyms can be an intimidating experience if they are new to exercise or have social or body insecurities. When people engage in an outdoor exercise routine, they are more likely to stick with it compared to an indoor exercise routine. A study published by the National Library of Medicine proved that routine outdoor exercise increases a person's ability to stick with it and decreases feelings of depression. For students, who are balancing many responsibilities and pressures, having a space where they feel motivated to exercise regularly will help them thrive academically, personally, and professionally. 

For more information on our outdoor fitness equipment for schools and campuses, click here.