Michael Suguitan / Sun Staff Photographer

A bodycombat class taught by Jessica Kerns at FLX Fitclub, a fitness club founded by alumna Chantelle Farmer '91.

February 11, 2021

Despite Fitness Center Closures on Campus, Students Find New Ways to Stay Fit

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With intense weather and social distancing regulations restricting options, Cornellians who hoped to exercise during the Spring semester are being forced to get creative with their workouts.  

Just like the fall semester, all four Cornell Fitness Center facilities will reopen later in the semester at 33 percent capacity and will be accessible by reservation only. 

To get Cornellians up and moving, students and faculty have been working to create opportunities for students studying in-person and remotely to get exercise in.

New and existing health and wellness organizations on campus have transitioned to engaging with students virtually, and offer communities for students who wish to stay active. 

One organization that fills this need is CHAARG — Changing Health, Attitudes + Actions To Recreate Girls — a national group that was chartered at Cornell this semester which aims to provide community and effective workout plans for college women. 

While the Cornell chapter of CHAARG was in the works prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, club ambassador June Kwak ‘23 said they expect to transition to fully online workouts, social events, and small group bonding sessions to attract members. 

“We at CHAARG just want to provide more options and opportunities for girls to try new workouts and really find their fit in a way that makes them feel good,” Kwak said. “That can obviously be applied to the pandemic, as gym facilities and many fitness studios have closed, but there are still many ways to stay active.” 

The University has also extended opportunities for students to virtually engage with fitness resources at Cornell.

The CFC introduced a new Fitness Concierge Service this semester, a program in which students can pay $20 for a 30 minute meeting with a personal trainer in order to develop a fitness plan for the spring. 

“Students who are looking for this support can enter questions in their request form so our trainers can come prepared to this session and with potential resources or information that will help guide that student. So, it can be really customized to suit every student’s needs,” said Emily Ellison, CFC Associate Director of Fitness Programs.

Cornell Recreation Services is also continuing its selection of free and paid alternatives for students to stay fit this spring, including synchronous virtual group exercise classes sponsored by Cornell Minds Matter, which will be free until Feb. 14 for all students. 

The CFC website also hosts a number of free pre-recorded workout videos and pre-built workout templates

“We have some content up and we’re working to continue to build that library as time allows,” Ellison said. “We want to really provide as many resources as we can to students to help give them options or empower them to work on making good choices and keeping themselves healthy during their semester here.”

Cornell students who are itching for a traditional gym experience have flocked to the number of privately-run gyms around Ithaca. 

Finger Lakes Fitness Center owner Dan Stehm confirmed that he has seen an increase in college-aged students working out at the center since the start of the pandemic. Planet Fitness denied a request for comment.