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Ping Recreation Center in Athens, Ohio. Feb. 5, 2024

Students share tips to beat crowds at Ping

Going to the gym for physical activity can be a stress reliever for anxiously wound-up college students. According to The Mayo Clinic, “Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, improve your mood, help you relax and low symptoms of mild depression and anxiety.”

Ohio University has many recreational areas for students, but its main gym on campus is Charles J. Ping Reactional Center, located at 82 S. Green Drive. As there is only one gym, it can quickly become crowded which can heavily affect someone’s workout. 

Josh O’Connell, a sophomore studying nursing, works as a Ping staff member. He weighed in on the best time to make the trip to Ping, based on watching everyone come and go. 

“The best time to go to Ping is around 6 a.m., right when it opens,” he said.

O’Connell explained that most students don’t want to go to bed that early to get up for the gym at 6 a.m. 

Alex Gabriel, a sophomore studying exercise physiology pre-physical therapy, is an avid gym-goer and explained when the time best to go is. 

“The mornings between 9-12 because that’s when there aren’t that many people,” he said. 

As most students have classes during that time, Ping is generally less crowded.

As a Ping staff member, O’Connell noticed the amount of people in the gym can affect someone’s workout.

“A lot of people like to have their routines when they lift and to have a machine taken up kind of inhibits people’s ability to get their lift in,” he said.

Gabriel said the best time to go is in the morning, either when it opens or during the 9-noon gap when most students are in class. However, Gabriel said he has classes in the morning leaving him to go in the afternoon.

“Every day I go at three and I just remember, ‘Why did I go at this time?’” he said, laughing. “Even though this is really the only time I can go.”

The afternoon slot is the busiest time for the gym, as most students are out of class and want to get a workout in before heading uptown or getting some rest in the evening. 

Michael Clevidence, a professor of instruction-exercise physiology, gave his thoughts on when the best time to go is. He said it depends on the person. 

“The best time to go to the gym for the general population is a time and day that they can do consistently,” he said. 

Clevidence also said to experience the benefits of exercising, remaining consistent is the main goal. Clevidence said many factors play a role in picking a time to consistently go. 

Nutrition, sleep and overall well-being are important factors when deciding when to go, Clevidence said. 

“If you’re attempting to get to the gym, but you’re sacrificing some degree of energy intake like you’re missing a meal or skipping meals to get to the gym it may not be appropriate,“ he said.

However, physical well-being isn’t the only factor that affects deciding what time to go to the gym, responsibilities like school, work and studying also play a role. 

“Choose a time that fits your comfort level,” Clevidence said. “Other things that you should take into consideration is, choose a time that doesn’t conflict with other responsibilities like classes and work.” 

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