Do you think the gym is influential in your life? According to the students interviewed while entering the University Recreational Center (UREC) on campus at 8 a.m., the gym is very influential in theirs. The University of Alabama Recreation Center is 85,000 square feet and grants free access to all university students. Open from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Saturday, UREC is one of the most accessible and inclusive places for all students.

 In addition to the convenience of UREC, which is affectionately known as “the Rec” to many UA students, the facility also provides all sorts of different activities that one can do while there. These activities include rock climbing, swimming in the aquatic center, workout classes, running on the track, weight room, regular cardio machines, and even personal trainers.

Elizabeth Tedder, a student at the University of Alabama, outside of the Student Recreation Center.

Elizabeth Tedder, a student at The University of Alabama, said that she goes to UREC two or three times a week and that working out was influential in her life because “it’s a good way to start [her] day and get it going on the right path.” 

Based on the responses from the students walking in and out of UREC at 8 a.m., Tedder speaks for many UA students. She mainly uses the treadmills and goes to the Rec over another gym because of the easy accessibility. In addition, starting the day at the gym is one of the best ways to wake up and stimulate the release of good mood endorphins such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

Best friends Rachel Simpson and Maddy Schwartz try to spend three or four mornings out of their week at the recreational center. They always come together to work out because they motivate each other to work even harder in the mornings. Simpson especially likes coming to the gym because she has been an athlete her whole life, so she likes “the environment with all the people surrounding [her].” 

She also said coming to a gym where other students are also working on a goal reminds her of the familiarity of working out with an athletic team. 

Schwartz chimed in and explained that she liked going to a gym better than running outside because “you can do more stuff because the gym has treadmills and the weight room.” 

The gym is highly influential to them because of the social aspect and being able to come together with other people on campus for the common goal of staying healthy and keeping their minds in the right place.

Simpson and Schwartz agreed that the gym is the place they always go to when they’re stressed. “Like, whenever we have a test or something is going on in our lives, we always go to the rec center to relieve our stress,” said Schwartz.  Going to the gym has impacted their lives so much that they integrated it into their daily schedules. 

Friends Rachel Simpson and Maddy Schwartz after working out at the Student Recreation Center.

Chandler Bailey outside of the Student Recreation Center.

Chandler Bailey, another UA student, comes to the Rec every single day of the week. He prefers the Rec rather than working outside because he is very into weight training. Bailey explained how the gym has made a meaningful change in his life by saying, “It changes my whole day. It changes how I do things on the daily, and makes me get up earlier and be more productive throughout the day.” 

Bailey uses his early morning weight training workout to motivate himself for the rest of the day. For all the people interviewed outside UREC, the gym has greatly impacted their lives and made them better students here at the university. Overall, the gym is a place where the students can go and relieve stress, work on their goals, and be with other students in the community who are trying to achieve the same things.