With busy schedules and high-pressure situations of day-to-day college life, the UNL Campus Recreation Center offers a variety of ways for students to take a break from their day while staying in shape.

“We offer one of the most comprehensive campus recreation programs in the country,” Stan Campbell, associate vice chancellor for student affairs, said. “It’s not all about getting in great shape and the competition of the various sports that we offer; a lot of it is simply the opportunity to meet other students and start making a connection.”

While it’s easy to make excuses for not going to the rec center, there are plenty of reasons to take advantage of its facilities while enrolled at UNL.

Cheaper than a regular gym

A membership to the rec center is included in student fees. While many students may never buy a gym membership, it would still be practical for them to use the rec center in some capacity while they are at the university.

Large enough space for everyone to work out

Thanks to the 2014 expansion to the City Campus rec center, it now has an 8,300 square foot room filled with equipment for every type of workout. Weightlifters have access to free weights, weight training machines and deadlifting stations. For people looking to boost their heart rate, there are treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bikes and stair master machines in the weight room and even more in other parts of the building. As with most other gyms, there are times when it gets busy. But most of the time, people can get in a full workout without having to stop and wait for machines to open up.

No judgment by fellow students in the gym

For those who are not comfortable working out around a lot of other people, both City Campus and East Campus rec centers are open from 5:45 a.m. to midnight, Monday–Thursday, with slightly shortened hours on the weekends. There are plenty of times where there are not as many people in the gym.

Plenty of options for everyone

Not everyone prefers working out in a weight room, so there are many different options for students who want to get some exercise. The City Campus rec center has eight multi-purpose courts, 11 racquetball courts and a five-lane, 25-yard indoor lap pool. Also attached to the building is Cook Pavilion, which features a full-size football field with the same characteristics as the one just down the street inside Memorial Stadium. A variety of pickup sports are played in Cook Pavilion on any given night, ranging from football to lacrosse. The City Campus rec center also has plenty of sport equipment available for members to check out, so students don’t need to bring their own.

In addition to weight training and sports, the City Campus rec center offers a variety of fitness classes ranging from yoga to cycling, as well as swimming and dance. Students can purchase an All-Class Fitness Pass for $55, which allows them to attend any group fitness class held at the rec center during that semester. During the first week of the semester, all classes are free so students can see what courses they might be interested in.

Great place to make new friends

“Research would tell us that the more connected a student is, the more likely they are to be successful,” Campbell said. “We think we are a great avenue to make that connection.”

There is a chance you will meet people doing the same activities as you while at the rec center, whether it’s in a class, playing a sport or in the weight room. Pickup games and classes are great ways to meet new people with similar interests. Many friendships have been formed this way. For those who are shy about going to the rec center by themselves, finding a group of friends to go with can be helpful. Going with someone who has been there before can also be very beneficial in learning what works best for you.

There are rec centers on both campuses

There are now fitness options for students on both campuses with the addition of the East Campus Recreation & Wellness Center in July 2015. Fifty-two cardio machines are spread over two levels, along with a strength training area, a golf simulator, two group exercise studios and a pair of multipurpose courts inside the RWC. It also offers a demonstration kitchen where students can learn how to cook healthier meals. Like the City Campus rec center, the RWC offers equipment checkouts and massage therapy.