Students cite coronavirus, safety precautions as reasons gym attendance is down

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Gym attendance at UVU is declining as the coronavirus dissuades some active gym-goers from attending. Students are finding it harder and harder to attend the gym for their daily workouts, mostly due to the panic caused by the thought of contracting COVID-19 while there. 

According to DaSheek Akwenye, director of campus recreation and wellness, the gym is functioning at 50 percent less than what they’re accustomed to. 

“We averaged around 1,300 to 1,500 students that come through our doors daily last Fall and this semester we are averaging around 500 to 600 students daily,” Akwenye said. 

Some students feel that new precautions and rules created by the gym, such as mask mandates and limited space in fitness classes make it harder to attend. 

Ethan Mehr, a freshman studying business marketing and frequent gym-goer has seen his workouts and volleyball training impacted by changes to gym policy. He shared the following thoughts as to why he thinks the gym is less crowded than ever.

 “I think when everything COVID-19 related happened, it flipped a switch for people and they stopped doing things like going to the gym,” Mehr said. “Even though things have gotten better, I feel like people keep the same mindset that they don’t want to go to the gym”.

“I hate wearing a mask when training,” Mehr added. “That’s my biggest issue”.

Senior and fitness instructor Aubrey Lindeman feels that her workouts have been affected negatively due to new restrictions at the gym. With a smaller amount of participants allowed in fitness classes, she worries she won’t be able to get a spot in the classes she likes to attend.

“Although the new precautions are necessary, they can be a hassle,” Lindeman said. “I do know that they are now carefully monitoring participants, making sure they are following social distancing guidelines and limiting participants in classes.”

While covid may repel some students from attending, Akwenye is certain that students can feel safe as they use the facilities to find escape from stress, anxiety and uncertainty. 

“Our goal is to remain open and provide exceptional service and care to our student body and we encourage every student to help us help them  by each of them doing their part by staying home when feeling ill and most importantly wearing a mask when utilizing our services and programs, wash hands frequently, wipe down machines when they are done using them and practice social distancing whenever possible,” Akwenye said. 

Students who are taking 10 or more credits qualify for a free gym membership, while students taking less than 10 can pay a fee of 40 dollars per semester.