August 06, 2021

How Outdoor Fitness Equipment Can Ease the College Mental Health Crisis

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Mental health concerns continue to increase among college students. An AHCA study found that 60% of American college students feel “overwhelming anxiety,” and 40% experience depression. Outdoor fitness equipment may provide relief from these and other issues facing college students.

The College Experience Isn’t Always What You Expect 

Many Americans consider college to be the best time of their lives. Most young adults find the freedom to be exhilarating after spending years under parental supervision. This sense of adventure might seem significant on the surface, but the reality is often different. 

Studies show that: 

  • 70% of students gain weight during college.
  • 50% of students report their mental health to be below average.
  • 64% of students stopped pursuing their higher education due to poor mental health.

To fix this issue, many universities invest in indoor fitness equipment. Unfortunately, due to overcrowding, pandemic-related issues, and other issues, these indoor gyms don’t always meet the needs of students.

Benefits of Outdoor Fitness Equipment

Colleges across the country utilize outdoor spaces on campus to encourage students to be more active and ease some of the mental health difficulties they face. While these indoor gyms help, outdoor recreation spaces may also be beneficial.

When adults exercise outside, they are more likely to exercise longer and burn more calories. This is due to a physiological reaction the body has engaging with the outdoors. 

Outdoor spaces also allow for vitamin D exposure from the sun, improving mental health issues such as depression. This is especially important for college students considering their days consist of staying indoors.

Exercising outdoors also improves mental clarity through connecting with the environment. Marc G. Berman, a psychologist, published studies that state nature enhances memory and uplifts those who suffer from depressive disorders.  

95% of college counselors report that mental health concern is growing on their campus. With this in mind, students need the benefits of outdoor equipment now more than ever. Many universities have already designed an outdoor fitness park, such as:

  • Mississippi State University
  • Wichita State University
  • University of Maryland

The students in these schools are doing well. reports Mississippi State University surpassed the average freshman year retention rate:

The Importance of Socialization

There are even more benefits to creating outdoor fitness areas or installing outdoor fitness equipment. Aside from improved physical and mental health, students who participate in outdoor exercises experience a greater degree of socialization. 

The social culture at an indoor gym is to put in your earbuds and look ahead while you complete your workout. An outdoor park or fitness area can connect people who might otherwise never meet. Studies show college students who are more social see improved mental health and are more likely to stay in school.

Help Make a Difference in Students’ Lives

Right now is the best time for college students to experience the physical and psychological benefits of outdoor fitness. An investment now will benefit students for years to come. For more information, look at GameTime’s extensive catalog of adult outdoor fitness equipment or request a quote today.