Continued threats of mental health concerns burden young adults at a more rapid pace than ever, with 60% of American college students reporting feelings of "overwhelming anxiety" and 40% reporting severe depression regularly, according to an American Health Care Association . In this blog, discover how OMNIA Partners participants utilize GameTime's engaging outdoor fitness equipment to provide relief from these and other issues facing college students on a day-to-day basis.
Health Vulnerabilities of College Freedom
For many, college is said to be the best time of a young adult’s life – More freedom, less parental supervision, and greater opportunity for exploration and adventure. However, the reality for many is that there is insufficient preparation for what it takes to care for one’s own physical and mental health while juggling a new array of responsibilities. An unfortunate truth within the college setting is that a lot of time is spent sitting, whether it's while studying in the library, eating in the dining hall with friends, or watching a campus basketball game, sedentary behavior is an alarming common denominator.
Studies show that:
70% of students gain weight during college.
50% of students report their mental health to be below average.
64% of students stopped pursuing higher education due to poor mental health.
To remedy this issue, many universities invest in indoor fitness equipment. Unfortunately, these indoor gyms do not always meet the desired needs of students.
Gravitating to Outdoor Fitness Opportunity
When researching the realities of fitness, it is proven that people are more likely to exercise longer and burn more calories when it is done in an outdoor setting. This is due to a positive physiological reaction that the body has when engaging with the outdoors.
As a bonus, outdoor spaces also allow for vitamin D exposure from the sun, which can improve and help tackle mental health hurdles like anxiety and depression. Many students tend to spend an overwhelming majority of their days indoors due to class and other obligations, so outdoor activity is especially a benefit to a busy college routine.
According to the CDC, students should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise and participate in muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week. If you commonly hear college students say they don’t have enough time for this kind of workout regimen – don’t worry.
Here are some ways your campus can help incorporate more physical activity into an established daily routine:Designate walking and biking paths throughout the campus to encourage more activity. Some colleges post signs with the distance between points or the number of steps between locations.
Set up an early-riser walk or run group. Students who have early classes may be willing to get an earlier start to socialize with friends before their day gets started. Early morning exercises cause a release of endorphins which contributes to improved mood throughout the day.
Host a workshop or class on how to use study breaks as an exercise break. Evidence suggests some students have higher brain function when their body is in motion.
Make Healthy Habits Last
Forming consistent, healthy habits in a young adult's college years is obviously a difficult routine to set for oneself. That’s why GameTime is working to make healthy opportunities clearer and long-lasting through purposefully designed outdoor fitness spaces based on best practice research with exercise in mind. This answers the common question of how to get more adults and students to be active outdoors, and it can increase the overall usage of outdoor recreation areas.
A GameTime and OMNIA Partners case study highlights how Virginia Tech was able to to install an outdoor fitness space that accommodates users of all skill levels. GameTime's THRIVE 900 fitness system provides 20 training stations that can be used by multiple users at once, and each station is adaptable for users of varying strengths and abilities. GameTime also included a custom trapeze trainer for additional and advanced training.
GameTime applies best practice research to create a complete solution. Eligible projects qualify for usage analysis to help college campuses determine the effectiveness of their space with real data. By using GameTime's cooperative contract, campuses now have access to a comprehensive portfolio of outdoor fitness products to improve the lives and health of its students and community alike.
Interested in seeing what health & wellness equipment your campus can qualify for through a cooperative contract with GameTime and OMNIA Partners? Inquire with GameTime here or with the button below.