Exercise for all — RecWell opens fitness court

After offering free summer memberships, Oakland University Recreation and Well-Being (RecWell) now brings fitness to all. 

In partnership with the National Fitness Campaign (NFC), the Priority Health Fitness Court at OU will open Aug. 7 following a launch party. Use of the Fitness Court does not require a membership. The court is also open to all adults ages 14 and above in accordance with the NFC’s mission to make fitness accessible.

According to the NFC website, Fitness Courts contain shock-resistant flooring and have enough space to allow up to 28 people. The courts are designed around a philosophy of seven workouts in seven minutes with 45 seconds of full-body exercise separated by 15 seconds of rest. This is achieved through the various bars through the court, and further exercises can be created through the NFC’s Fitness Court app.

OU is the first school in Michigan to implement a Fitness Court and is among Stanford University, University of Colorado – Boulder and Baylor University in being one of the five schools to have Fitness Courts. Prior to Stanford, the courts were only implemented in cities. 

The cost of the Fitness Court is mostly being covered by Priority Health while Oakland University Student Congress (OUSC) and other sponsors also provided funds.

“The RecWell reached out to OUSC around the end of the last fall semester and asked to come in and speak about the court,” OUSC President Destinee Rule said. “[RecWell] needed financial assistance to offset the price of the court, so they came to OUSC and we were able to allot about $5,000.” 

Rule cited OUSC support for the court comes from the ability for students to have access to free on-campus fitness over the summer and for local communities to utilize the OU campus.

While a RecWell membership is not mandatory for Fitness Court use, Molly Gagnon — RecWell’s marketing and communications coordinator — said a membership will have benefits. A new group exercise class centered around the court with NFC-certified instructors will be added. 

While bathrooms and drinking fountains can be used by the public during operating hours, those are the limits of free RecWell amenities.

“If somebody needed a towel or if somebody needed a beverage, there are different things people can purchase at the membership desk,” Gagnon said. “But if anybody needed locker room facilities or shower facilities or even day lockers, they would have to essentially check into the RecWell… If they were not a member at that point they would have to purchase a membership or purchase a guest pass.”

The Aug. 7 launch party is one of only several events lined up for the day. The party starts at 4 p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony, a “Fitness Court Challenge” between teams from OU and community administrators and a “bootcamp” for those who pre-registered. At 6 p.m., the party ends and fitness is free at OU.

“Essentially at that point, fitness is free at Oakland University,” Gagnon said.

There will be a second opening celebration held at the start of the Fall semester called “Find Your Fit,” which will promote RecWell and its intramural leagues and club sports teams. The “Find Your Fit” event will be Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the RecWell.