Gym use on the rise

Spring semester finds more students at gym

Lately hundreds of AU students are determined, pushing themselves to their limits in order to obtain a noteworthy goal: to lose weight and get into shape.

Since January this year, the number of students who regularly work out at Jacobs Fitness Center has increased; creating long lines in which people are forced to wait as much as thirty minutes before beginning their workouts.

"This semester I am trying to get into shape," said graduate student Linnisa Wahid, "and since I am going to Miami for spring break I have more incentive to do so."

Jocelyn Hill, assistant manager at the fitness center, has noticed the "progressive increase in the amount of students coming to the gym."

"Fitness centers have a life cycle," Hill said. "After Christmas people usually exercise due to New Years resolutions, but in the summer there are less people at the gym ... because it's warmer and people want to be outside."

The gym is generally busiest from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., but during the morning and midday there is less of a crowd, Hill said.

Senior Ivan Mitchell, who works out all the time, goes to the gym in the morning to avoid the crowd.

"I think that the gym is crowded because of the increased enrollment, which causes a greater demand for the equipment," Mitchell said.

The increased amount of activity among students is because more students have knowledge of fitness, Hill said, more people work out indoors during the winter and the gym serves as a place for students who live on campus to hang out.

Marissa Friedman, a fitness staff member, attributes the increased number of people coming to the Letts and McDowell gyms as a result of the "cold weather," as well as "because of New Years resolutions and spring break."

Due to the large crowds, the fitness center uses a wipe-board to ensure that everyone is "cordial" while waiting to use the aerobics equipment, Hill said.

"The board seems to be the best way to go, but we have a staff member floating around just in case," Hill said. "Also, the machines can't run for more than 30 minutes, which helps regulate people too."

Abby Stark, Washington Semester student, said she "imagined that the gym would be a lot bigger then it is," which would allow for more equipment to decrease the effect of it "always being so busy."

"We'll probably do more replacing than adding because there isn't a lot of room," Hill said. "We plan on adding another cycle bike for the cycling class and replacing the bicycles by April because the ones we currently have are from 1999."

This semester's additions to the gym are the treadmills and ellipticals with built-in televisions. According to Hill, a few years ago people asked about televisions during the evaluations, and the idea finally was acted upon.

"We found another company to purchase TVs from, and this idea is pretty popular in most fitness centers because it alleviates boredom while exercising," Hill said.

One concern of students is the lack of equipment in the Letts and McDowell fitness centers.

"None of the other gyms have elliptical machines," said Tonya Cook, a Washington Semester student and gym staffer. "Ellipticals are the most popular equipment, and I think that they should be in every gym."

Unfortunately, Hill does not think that they will buy more equipment for Letts and McDowell.

"If anything we will replace it with equipment from Jacobs once we buy more machines," she said.

Students can go to www.american.edu/jacobsfitness/ to find out the schedule of the fitness centers.

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