As students make walk past the windows on the path leading to the Mills College gym inside the Haas Paviilion, the whirring of stationary bikes intermingles with the beat of dance music.
Using ellipticals, yoga balls, weights and treadmills, Mills community members are increasing their heart rates while listening to Ke$ha, Beyonce and Far East Movement. While some student aim to shed a few pounds for the holidays, others are looking to boost their endorphins.
In many cases athletes are using the gym to strengthen up for a team sport. Iz Love, a first year student on the crew team, said she likes the gym because it allows for a place to train and build camaraderie with fellow teammates in the off-season.
“I like the facility because it has everything I need to stay in shape for the spring season,” Love said.
From 1910, the gymnasium was located where the Tea Shop now stands.The old gym included a swimming pool which was lated replaced by Adams Plaza. In 1961 the gym moved to its current home in the Haas Pavilion on Richards Road, across from the Mills College chapel. The Haas Pavilion includes many of the dance studios and athletic department offices.
By relocating the facilities, Mills was able to expand the number of ways students could get their heart rates up. Mills currently offers a variety of physical education classes including kickboxing, karate and fitness swimming. Many of the classes require students to use the fitness center as part of the curriculum.
Sarah Taylor, a first year student who has a strength training class twice a week, said she likes the gym because it’s free with a Mills identification card.
“The equipment is varied and the traffic in the fitness center is moderate,” Taylor said.
Taylor, who works at the front desk and takes people’s ID cards, said she notices that there is never a long wait to use any of the equipment. Unlike places that require memberships where someone may have to wait for a treadmill, Mills students share the equipment and monitor themselves on time so that everyone gets a turn.
First year Daniella Smith, who is taking a tennis class and dance class likes how the dance studios, volleyball courts, tennis courts and gym are all so close to each other, making access easy.
“Keeping active is important to me,” Smith said. “I have always been super active and the gym is a great resource.”
Fitness may not increase muscles, but grades too. Researchers at UCLA have found that students who exercise are not only happier but perform betters on exams as well as experience improved health in comparison to students who do not engage in at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week.
“Keeping active is a good way to have more energy during the day and stay healthy during school,” Smith said.