Photograph courtesy of UREC

UREC offers more than physical fitness

Facility focuses on providing all-inclusive wellness for Dukes

On Jan. 22, the University Recreation Center welcomed a record 8,074 visitors — the facility’s busiest day in its history.

For many students, faculty and staff, a trip to UREC is the best part of their day. The center has opportunities for Dukes to stay active and healthy, physically and mentally. That’s especially important during the winter months, with fewer daylight hours and higher levels of anxiety, depression and illness.

UREC’s indoor track measures six laps per mile. Get your run or walk in — even on bad weather days.
(Photo: courtesy of UREC)

Kristin Gibson, associate director for UREC Services, emphasizes the importance of collaboration and partnerships when it comes to providing resources to support students in their mental health and wellness. “UREC’s Wellness Center opened as a part of the UREC renovation in 2016. This center is a shared space where many different specialists can all provide one-on-one care for our students.”

Group exercise classes, a hallmark of UREC, see increased participation as the spring semester begins. UREC offers more than 100 group exercise classes every week in many different formats, from boxing to yoga to strength training. Each class has a different end goal and is geared toward all fitness levels.

UREC also hosts club sports and intramural sports. Anyone can sign up for intramural sports teams, and more than 50 competitive club sports teams are offered.

Intramural sports are competitions between teams or individuals. The programs feature a variety of sports and activities for students, faculty and staff.
(Photo: courtesy of UREC)

In the area of mental health and wellness, UREC provides services in partnership with other JMU organizations as well as other companies that cater to students.

UREC’s partnership with Sentara RMH Medical Center includes an athletic training center. Trainers help evaluate and identify injuries, provide acute care, and educate students on the next steps and levels of care for sports injuries.

UREC offers student athletic training services for sports-related injuries. This service is provided in partnership with Sentara RMH Medical Center. The athletic trainers are licensed health care providers in Virginia and hold the state credential of Certified Athletic Trainer.
(Photo: courtesy of UREC)

“Injuries can take a real toll on [students’] mental wellness,” Gibson said. “Being able to see progress with an injury and get back to moving and exercising the way they used to is important.”

UREC also partners with Zen Wellness Company to offer massage services. UREC’s Wellness Center has two massage therapy rooms with licensed massage therapists.

UREC’s Adventure program offers trips and clinics for students to experience the outdoors. These trips allow Dukes the opportunity to discover new wonders near and far. There’s a variety of trips to choose from depending on interests, schedule and skill level.
(Photo: courtesy of UREC)

UREC also works to get students outside through a wide range of Adventure program trip offerings. One program of note is a collaboration with the Counseling Center and the Wilderness Therapy program, which uses adventure as a platform for building self-confidence and self-efficacy, as well as increasing healthy coping skills.