New outdoor fitness area in University Park, opened in mid August (Picture by Jocelyn Freeman)

New Fitness Area in University Park

University Park has a new fixture for fitness that has been catching eyes recently.

Although University Park at Bridgewater State University has always been a hub for various freeform events and hangouts, the park received an open-air exercise area next to the Martin Richard statue. According to Assistant Athletic Director, Dan Rezendes (he/him), this had been a long time in the making, stating “I was contacted by representatives from the National Fitness Campaign about the possibility of bringing a Fitness Court to BSU back in 2018.” Though the project was shelved in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, talks of building the facility resumed in late 2022. After ground broke in July on the project, the gym has been open for the past month to the public. 

BSU is the first college or university in Massachusetts to offer an outdoor fitness court to the campus community and the community at large.

This is a part of a series of measures to improve access to physical and mental health services. This series also includes the expanding utilization of the Thornberg Fitness Center, the provision of numerous online mental health tools by the Wellness Center, and the growth of wellness offerings through the Division of Human Resources and Talent Management. 

This gym has seven stations, designed to exercise seven different movement techniques: core, squats, pushes, lunges, pulls, agility, and bends. While the option for using the facility with zero aid is available, it’s recommended that users first download the “Fitness Court” app prior to exercise. The app is relatively easy to use. As Rezendes claims, “it allows users to ‘check-in’ to the Fitness Court, track sessions, and offers sample exercises with videos in order to get the most well-rounded workout.”

Though the openness of the area may seem daunting or uncomfortable to some at first, the area can be utilized in a way to accommodate the experience of any skill level. The lack of conventional gym machinery creates a less intimidating environment for all, and the freeform nature of the structures and lack of weights allow for usage of any intensity. 

Although the outdoor gym has been open and able to be used by anyone for over a month, a formal grand opening of the facility will take place on Thursday, September 21st at 10:30 AM. During this time, the Wellness Center will be providing brief wellness screenings.

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