Institution: Oakland University

Program Area: National Fitness Campaign

Program Name: Fitness Courts

Oakland University Recreation and Well-Being has partnered with the National Fitness Campaign and Priority Health to make world-class fitness accessible with a new outdoor Fitness Court. Just outside of the Recreation Center, the space includes seven stations for circuit training, which allow for independent individual and partner workouts as well as group classes. Additionally, the National Fitness Campaign offers a free mobile app with how-to videos, the ability to track your workouts, and interactive challenges. The Court is free and accessible to all. Greg Jordan, Director of Oakland University Recreation and Well-Being, shared the story of how the project developed as well as details about the opening of the Court and how the space aligns with current industry trends.

Oakland was contacted by the National Fitness Campaign, which is working towards a goal of building 20 Fitness Courts in 2019 and an additional 40 in 2020. They have partnered with several institutions across the country and continue to recruit others. Their product and vision are a no-brainer for fitness professionals, but one of the difficulties is funding. When the opportunity was presented, Jordan worked with OU’s Corporate Relations to identify a compatible partner to take on the project. Priority Health is a healthcare provider for Oakland faculty and staff. Their mission, vision, and values align well with that of Recreation and Well-Being and the National Fitness Campaign, and they were quick to get involved.

Demolition of the pre-existing space took three weeks, and construction of the Fitness Court was completed four weeks after. On August 7, Oakland hosted a Launch Party for the official opening of the space. It was energized by giveaway swag, snacks from local vendors, and a competition among University administrators and leaders from the local community. Since the Fitness Court is open to the community and intended to highlight the accessibility of fitness, including community leaders was a priority. The more exposure the community has to the Fitness Court, the more welcoming the space will be.

There is no question of the relevance of the Fitness Court. Industry trends lend themselves to its success. As expressed by Jordan, “It can easily be used by a novice person with their first attempt of exercising as well as a professional athlete.” Participants set their own pace and intensity level. The equipment is free and fun, but can also be challenging. It allows users to engage in a community while embracing the technology of the app. Similar to other fitness tracking apps, users have the ability to compete with others by performance and tracking visits. Additionally, a few group exercise classes will be scheduled in the space during Oakland’s fall semester. A greater understanding of how to approach the space from an instructor’s standpoint is simplified by the National Fitness Campaign’s Ambassador Training.

To learn more information about the National Fitness Campaign, visit their website here. You can keep up with Oakland University Recreation and Well-Being to watch as they continue to develop their Fitness Court programming on their website as well.