5 ways to make the most of your university’s sports facilities

5 ways to make the gym

Students are offered a plethora of choices at university. While assessing the quality of teaching in your chosen course, the state of accommodation and the atmosphere of city life are all important, if you’re a fitness fanatic, you’ll want to check out the sports facilities. In 2011, British Universities and College Sport (BUCS) together with Sport England provided more than £8 million investment directly into higher education sport and Sport England is investing £493m in 46 National Governing Bodies (NGBs) between 2013 and 2017. This money will in part be used to improve sports facilities at universities and increase opportunities for students. The opportunities to improve fitness, join a sports team or try out a completely different activity are plentiful. Here is a guide to getting the most from your university’s sports facilities.

1. Explore the indoor sports options

Some universities offer state-of-the-art fitness facilities complete with multi-purpose gyms. However sports facilities may be further away from campus than you thought so you may need to leave plenty of time to fit a session into your schedule. It is also worth researching when the busiest times of day are. If you’re a swimming enthusiast, check the size of the pool, the number of lanes available and the often changeable opening hours of the facility. Some universities even offer massage clinics if you’re looking for a dose of luxury.

2. Try a niche sport

From skeleton and bobsleigh to wind-surfing and archery, there are a wide array of sporting activities waiting to be explored. University life provides an ideal opportunity to take up an altogether different sport such as kaufball (a faster paced, mixed sex version of netball) or lacrosse. Taking part in these activities also offers opportunities to meet new people in a relaxed, fun and sometimes unusual environment.

3. Check out the classes

From Pilates to yoga, ballet to Zumba, the number and variety of taught classes are wide. But they may not be included in a gym membership and spaces for attendees are often limited. Find out how often classes are run, which classes are booked up early and whether the start-times fit with your timetable. There may be an option to pay-per class, allowing you to sample the range of activities on offer before committing to multiple sessions.

4. Join a team

Almost all universities will offer competitive leagues between halls, societies and groups of friends. Intra-mural competitions are competitive, but there are no barriers to entry. Being part of a team creates and strengthens friendships and may develop leadership skills, particularly if you become captain of the side. Make sure you meet the university’s deadlines (normally at the start of each term) for joining or starting a team.

5. Play throughout the year

Competition between universities is fierce and they are all keen to show a commitment to investment in new facilities. For sporty students this is great news because most universities have all-weather pitches. Don’t be deterred by unpredictable weather, you can still participate in the likes of football and hockey on 3G pitches throughout the year.