Working on mind and body: New outdoor gym opens at RWC

Freshman hospitality management major Chris Walker and freshman architecture major Jana Denning test out UCF's new Thrive450 gym with stations during a demo Wednesday evening.

UCF's Recreation and Wellness Center opened the Thrive450 outdoor gym with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday afternoon. 

The new 450-square-foot piece offers fitness novices and experts the chance to do a full-body workout in one place. It features eight zones, from monkey bars to step-up platforms.

“It’s an inclusive experience,” said Kyra Dickie, the assistant director for fitness at the RWC. “No matter what your fitness level is, everyone can find something to do on it.”

The Thrive450 holds up to 10 people at a time, and Dickie said they plan to host group classes there in the future.

Coaches from the RWC provided one-on-one guidance to show students different exercises Wednesday night. They started with a warmup and later went into other stations using a zone for 25 seconds each round.

Angelica Flagg, who teaches group classes at the RWC, led the demo circuits at the new outdoor gym. 

“I love that you can do a group workout in an organized fashion but still keep your distance, especially right now,” Flagg said.

Freshman hospitality management major Chris Walker and freshman architecture major Jana Denning said they saw the Thrive450 on Instagram and decided to try it out together.

“I wasn’t expecting this, but I’m thrilled that I came,” Walker said. “It’s definitely something I look forward to doing more often.”

Dickie said the RWC team was looking for ways to help students safely continue their workout routines through the pandemic. She said research from the CDC revealed at the time that COVID-19 did not transmit as easily outdoors as it did indoors.

“It is accessible for beginners and even athletes, which is part of the reason why we put it at the RWC Park because our intramural teams and sports clubs practice out there,” Dickie said.

Dickie said that in December 2020, the RWC went to look at different outdoor fitness installations with the former Student Government president and former vice president, Sabrina La Rosa and Stephanie Blanco, respectively. The Thrive450's modern design caught their attention right away as well as its functionality.

“I think it really fits in with UCF’s goal to remain innovative and savvy,” Dickie said.

The gym was assembled on UCF’s main campus in November 2021, but the official opening on Tuesday came just in time to celebrate the RWC’s 20th anniversary. It is part of a week-long celebration with an event each day.

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