By Faith Miletello | Reporter
Health and fitness are important aspects of my life, and because of that, I regularly take advantage of the Student Life Center and fitness room. Though it is convenient to have a gym on campus, the SLC fitness room doesn’t offer the best resources or the most comfortable workout environment for students. For those of us on campus who spend the same amount of time in the SLC as we do in class, there are some improvements that could be made to ensure the best experience for students and faculty.
A huge issue facing students who work out in the fitness room is the lack of space to incorporate a variety of calisthenics into personal workouts. The fitness area’s three floors have become too small for the number of students and faculty on campus, and in comparison to the size of the SLC, the fitness room is not proportional to the space in the building.
Along with the small size of the fitness room, are the inadequate amount of specific machines and platforms in the fitness room. Throughout most of the day, and especially during gym rush hour, students are waiting in lines to use the different benches and machines. Though the SLC has incorporated ab exercise and stretching areas on the third and fourth floors, it still does not compensate for the room needed in the main fitness room for those doing heavier free weights and Olympic lifts.
The Student Life Center was built in 1999, and though minor renovations and updates have been facilitated, the fitness room has not been on the agenda. With the dramatic increase in class sizes at Baylor since the time the SLC was built, it seems it is time for additions and improvements as far as size and equipment in the fitness room.
Another issue that many students complain about are the required towels and sleeves in the fitness room. The towels are supposed to create an incentive for students to clean off the areas they use, but this has not become a trend because of a lack of knowledge and enforcement. The SLC does not offer adequate cleaning supplies for students to use and has not required students to use the towels.
In many gym chains across the U.S., sanitary towels or cloths along with disinfectant sprays are provided for gym users in order to create a clean environment. The SLC should take measures to offer students an easier and more effective way to clean up rather than just forcing them to bring a towel, which has become more of an accessory to students.
The sleeves requirement was an issue addressed by the student government in October 2015. According to an article published in the Lariat the Student Senate passed the bill to do away with the sleeve requirement, and it was presented to various directors on campus for approval. The university has yet to update students on a change in policy.
It seems the sleeve requirement is enforced for sanitation reasons, but no public or chain gyms require sleeves, so this seems a futile argument by Baylor’s gym. Personally, the requirement is inconvenient and uncomfortable during my time working out in a hot gym packed with too many people.
According to a 2014 study, gym memberships in the U.S. have increased by 22 percent since 2005. With the rise of social media fitness gurus, accessibility to fitness and types of fitness programs to follow, the industry has grown, and I don’t believe Baylor’s fitness opportunities have grown alongside the trend. As a senior who has spent four years working out at the SLC, I would like to see some changes made. I have spent way too many workouts waiting in line while carrying around my useless towel.