Photo courtesy: Brian Beasley (The Recreational Center has been flooded with students this year.)
This academic school year, 2022-23, UMass Lowell students have noticed an increase in the population at the Campus Recreation Center on East Campus and are becoming frustrated with the inability to properly complete their workouts.
When asked about the noticeable increase in student population at the Recreation Center, Diana Dellogono, the Associate Director of Fitness and Facilities at the UMass Lowell Recreation Center said, “I’m not sure we know specific reasons, but we can have an idea that a big portion of it has to do with COVID[-19] impacts where we lost a lot of numbers.”
She further explained the reasons COVID may have affected the numbers. It may be because people did not know about the Recreation Center, masks made people not participate as much and due to a large majority of last year’s sophomore class never having been on campus, a lot of their focus may have been spent navigating the school rather than using the Recreation Center. Finally, Dellogono said that this year there are a lot more students living on campus than last year, which has increased the number of students at the Recreational Center.
“I think a combination of word of mouth, no masks, as well as people just finding out about us, and having a good reputation in social media work is making a difference,” said Dellogono while talking about what has worked to bring the student back to the Recreation Center.
A concern that students have is not knowing the best times to go to the Recreation Center. It is important for students to be informed about when the best time is so they can make an educated decision on when to go.
Dustin Nguyen, a junior at UMass Lowell, is a self-proclaimed “avid enjoyer of the gym.” When asked about how often his workout is impeded, he said, “About 80% of the time. I go at certain times expecting it to be less busy and it never is.”
Another staff member, Sabrina Patrizio, the Recreation Center Graphic Designer and Marketing Intern, agreed that the times when there is the least number of students are on weekend mornings and 9-12 p.m. on weekdays. They explain that another good time to go is right when they open at 6:30 a.m. They said that 4-8 p.m. is the busiest time at the Recreation Center.
Even though students’ workouts are disrupted by the number of machines, benches and weights being taken up, there are several things that students can do to still have a full and effective workout.
Dellogono said, “I think it’s just [about] being creative with your workouts, [like] you walked in and you were really planning on doing cable bicep curls, [so you figure] out, ‘Okay, I can do this with a dumbbell, I can do this with one of the fixed weight barbells.’ [It’s just about] being adaptive.”
Students can do other things to supplement their workouts. As Dellogono said, being adaptive is important because there are multiple ways to do many lifting activities. Additionally, there are extra rooms such as the atrium space in the front of the building, studio rooms and basketball courts, as well as a second Recreation Center on South Campus in Riverview Suites.
Another option includes finding a partner to exercise with or making friends in the Recreation Center which will allow you to get use out of a machine if someone is already using it. When asked about alternative options for how to make your workout more effective when it is busy, Dellogono said, “Trying to make friends with people that are lifting too and asking, ‘Hey, do you mind if I cut in for a set?’ Most people want to find other workout partners too.”
Philipo Ntibazokiza, a UMass Lowell senior who goes to the Recreation Center, said that it is easy to make friends in the gym and improves the whole workout experience. “When I go, I make sure to work out with someone for two reasons. Firstly, it opens space up because it means two people are on the same machine, and secondly, having a second person there will motivate you to work harder.”
More information regarding the UMass Lowell Rec Center hours, operations, events and more is available at their website on the official UMass Lowell website.