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Recreation facilities provide multiple health and wellness options

Students, faculty, and staff utilized the various facilities operated by Liberty University’s Recreation Centers department more than 1 million times throughout the 2017-18 school year, including more than 30,000 visits per week to the LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center over a seven-week span this past spring semester.

“The LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center is the hub of physical activity on campus,” Recreation Centers Director Jamie Swyers said.

The expansive multipurpose facility, renovated in 2014, includes a 40-foot rock climbing wall, an aquatics center, spacious weight and cardio rooms, seven basketball courts, and an overhead walking track.

Throughout the school year, the center offers over 100 classes per week in Zumba, Pilates, CrossFit, cycling, aerobics, and more. According to Swyers, the center hosted close to 32,000 participants in group exercise classes this past year —  a 23-percent increase from the previous year.

The rock wall had a total of 26,124 visits, a 74-percent increase over the 2016-17 school year. Users logged a total of 310,543 miles on LifeFitness Cardio stations, equipped with Discover consoles, which offer touchscreen access to detailed workout analysis, TV, internet, and interactive courses.

Last fall, the LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center was recognized by American School & University in its 2017 Architectural Portfolio awards.

Overall, Liberty’s Recreation Centers department — which also oversees the Liberty Natatorium, Montview Student Union’s Bowling Alley and Game Room, and David’s Place, featuring an outdoor pool, indoor gaming room, billiards, and ping pong tables — received 1.13 million guests, a 5-percent increase from 2016-17.

The Montview Student Union features an eight-lane bowling alley in the basement. (Photo by Leah Seavers)“I believe that the future is very bright for our area,” said Liberty Campus Recreation Vice President Chris Misiano. “We have a lot of success that we are going to capitalize on this coming year that will continue to pave the way for long-term growth and strength.”

Liberty’s Campus Recreation division was recently ranked as one of the Top 50 in the United States by collegeconsensus.com.

The university offers a number of Outdoor Recreation opportunities, including activities at the Hydaway Outdoor Recreation Center, trail races, and adventure trips. Students can also compete against their peers in 20 sports through Liberty’s thriving Intramural Sports program.

Part of Liberty’s mission is to develop each student’s mind, body, and spirit, and Swyers said the psychological, physical, and spiritual effects of regular visits to Liberty’s recreation facilities are long lasting.

Students enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding at Hydaway Outdoor Recreation Center. (Photo by Joel Coleman)

“In addition to improving your physical health, staying active can help you manage stress, improve sleep, and motivate you to make healthier choices throughout the day,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what form of exercise you choose to participate in — whether it’s rock climbing, swimming laps, taking a Pilates class, playing basketball, weight lifting, or simply walking — the benefits are tremendous.”

Swyers and her 13 full-time and 150 part-time and student staff have worked tirelessly to offer programs and opportunities for students to improve their health and wellness.

“The Recreation Centers team loves to be able to provide so many options for the campus community because when you find something you really enjoy, we know you are far more likely to stick with it,” Swyers said.

Summer memberships to Liberty’s Recreation Centers are available for students enrolled for the Fall 2018 semester, as well as alumni and faculty and staff and their families. Year-round memberships are also available.

Liberty will host its second annual Rec Centers Summer Camp, open to youth ages 6-13, from July 30-Aug. 3.

Team Liberty had the most runners and won five of six corporate divisions in last fall's Virginia 10 Miler. (Photo by Joel Coleman)Last year, as part of its Live Healthy Liberty campaign, faculty, staff, and students logged nearly 23,000 walking and running miles from July 1 through Sept. 23 to win the 90-day, 100-mile challenge offered through Live Healthy Lynchburg, which kicked off again this month.

Nearly 600 Liberty faculty and staff participated in the annual Virginia 10 Miler and 4 Miler races in Lynchburg last year. Registration for this year’s 45th annual races, slated for Sept. 29, opened Tuesday. Liberty will cover the entry fee for employees who sign up by Aug. 15.

Follow Liberty University Recreation Centers on Facebook and on Twitter and Instagram at LURecCenters.