I don’t think any of us are going to miss the Miller Center that was filled with the ever-occupied cardio equipment, the small weight room and the perpetually broken equipment.
I don’t think I’m alone in thinking the new gym in Reynolds is a big upgrade. Besides having a rock climbing wall, it also has several different areas devoted to weights and cardio equipment. Even during peak hours, it is no longer a challenge to find the machine you want. And there will be even more resources once the third phase of construction is complete, and the pool, among other things, opens.
In addition to the facilities themselves, the new gym also has weekly meditation class and massage chairs to help students de-stress. I think the new emphasis on mindfulness is especially beneficial. I began meditating on my own several months ago, and besides feeling generally calmer, it feels great to take a break during the day and just focus on the present. It is an effective and easy way students can reduce the stress they experience due to their demanding course load. I’d recommend trying the massage chairs — it feels good once you get over the nagging feeling that the chairs are going to swallow you up.
Besides satisfying my desire for personal space while I work out, the new facilities also illustrate the objectives of Thrive, the university’s initiative to promote overall wellbeing. Prior to the improvements, I found it difficult to take the initiative to heart, when there were not many readily accessible resources to help lead a healthy life. I thought the colorful Thrive leaves were cool, but without actions to back it up, the initiative did not seem altogether helpful.
But that has changed over my four years, especially this year with the new gym. Besides the overdue demise of the Miller Center, in my opinion, the Pit has begun serving healthier options and displaying nutritional values and the counseling center has become more accessible.
Despite these great changes, I encourage Wake Forest to continue to create new resources to promote student wellness though, as a senior, I will not be around to experience them. One area I think the university could improve in is group fitness activities. Working out is always easier to do with other people, and it would be beneficial to everyone to be able to learn new workouts without having to enroll in a formal class.
In conclusion, take advantage of the new wellness resources, and don’t be scared off by the weird growling noises the massage chairs make.