UNB has some of the best fitness facilities in New Brunswick, if not the best. However, with the province stuck in Red, at least for the moment, what are the options for students looking to up their fitness levels in 2021?
Director of Recreation Services Gansheng Xu says there are some great options that have been carefully formulated to fit with the NB Public Health Guidelines.
“We recognize many challenges that students are facing during the pandemic and in particular the challenges of physical and mental health,” said Xu. “Since last May, URec has been offering a variety of virtual fitness classes for students and other URec members on a daily basis. Those classes range from Zumba to Simple Stretch, from Cardio & Core to Flex & Flow (Yoga).”
The Strength Centre and Free Weight Room at the Currie Center and the Sir Max Aitken Pool are open for in-person services, but only during Yellow and Orange Phase. Online booking for facility access is required due to public health requirements, even in Yellow or Orange.
Lauren Rogers, Manager of Fitness and Wellness with URec, discussed further options that are available to both students and community URec members.
“If there are students who are here in Fredericton, and they're interested in trying to get a workout in, like coming to the actual gym itself, we are offering workout opportunities at the Currie Centre, as well as at the Sir Max Aitken pool,” says Rogers. “So those can be booked online or over the phone. And we have bookings available throughout the day; there are different times depending on whether you're interested in doing some lap swimming at the pool, or if you're interested in coming in to do some cardio or some strength training, or to walk on the track.”
During the Orange phase at the Currie Centre, these are the restrictions. Masks must be worn at all times, and everyone must be distanced six feet from other patrons. However, Rogers notes that staff is still available to offer help and guidance. UNB’s nutritionist is available to students via phone or email, and again, there are online fitness options available while Fredericton is in Red Phase.
“Over the past six years, URec has been in partnership with UNB Counselling Services and offering the CURES program to help students struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions,” Rogers explains, noting the importance of mental health to any physical health goals. “The program focuses on how exercise can be so beneficial for mental health and providing guidance on exercise and physical activities. Since last fall, the program has been offered virtually, helping students struggling with mental health stay active and accountable at home with behavioral health tips and exercise programming, etc.”
Xu and Rogers both mentioned an interesting contest being hosted by URec right now, meant to help encourage students to engage with health and mindfulness going into the new year. Another option available during Red Phase, other than the online fitness options, is a contest being run by URec, encouraging students to engage with fitness at home.
“We're doing a wellness or fitness based URec Bingo Contest. And it's on our Facebook page, as well as our Instagram account,” says Rogers. “It’s basically a bingo card with a variety of different things. So, for example, one of them says do ten squats today. Another one is eat your meal mindfully, no technology. And we're actually going to be giving some prizes away… we'll put names in for a draw, and then we're going to be giving away some swag, as well as a personal trainer package. So when we're able to offer personal training again, whoever wins that prize can come in and get a few sessions with the trainer. The deadline is January 31.”
All options discussed above are available to students and to URec members from the community, with more information available on the URec website.