Jonathan Binnie, the training director of the National Fitness Campaign, demonstrates an advanced move on Oakland University’s new Priority Health Fitness Court.

Jonathan Binnie, the training director of the National Fitness Campaign, demonstrates an advanced move on Oakland University’s new Priority Health Fitness Court.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


OU debuts new outdoor fitness court

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published August 20, 2019

 Oakland University alumnus Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett competes against Oakland University Vice President of Student Affairs Glenn McIntosh following the ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 7.

Oakland University alumnus Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett competes against Oakland University Vice President of Student Affairs Glenn McIntosh following the ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 7.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Oakland University students, staff and visitors can now head outside to get a full body workout on campus in just seven minutes.

Oakland University is the first school in Michigan, and one of the first five universities in the country, to be selected by the National Fitness Campaign as a site for a fitness court, joining Stanford University, the University of Colorado – Boulder, Baylor University and Florida State University.

“We love being here with Oakland University … because of the attitude of the school,” said Mitch Menaged, the founder of the National Fitness Campaign. “This school is a leader in a lot of different categories. They are a wonderful pilot, and they will spread the word. People love seeing it here.”

University staff and representatives from the National Fitness Campaign recently debuted the campus’s new Priority Health Fitness Court, located just outside the OU Recreation Center. The fitness court is a free outdoor circuit training facility that officials say will serve as a wellness hub for students, faculty, staff and members of the community.

The court is easily accessible to bicyclists, runners and people visiting the campus, according to Greg Jordan, Oakland University’s director of recreation and well-being.

“This facility is located right outside the main entrance to the Oakland University Rec Center, so it is available and free to everybody who wants to use it. Whether you are driving, biking or running through campus, or if you want to come to campus to use it, you can do so at no charge,” he said.

The 35-by-32-foot outdoor space features shock-resistant sports flooring and allows for up to 28 individuals to use the court at the same time. The recommended workout includes seven movements that can be done in seven minutes: 45 seconds of full-body exercise separated by 15 seconds of rest.

“Anyone can use this, no matter their age or their skill set or their fitness level — from the novice beginner … to professional athletes. The beauty of this is there is no moving parts and you use your own body weight,” Jordan explained.

Exercise sessions and small-group classes will be available at the court, and users can also download an app to work out on their own, track usage, receive exercise tips and more.

“The app on your phone is a coach in your pocket. It’s free, and it will show you when there are classes, and it will show you 20 different workouts you can do on your own,” Menaged said.

Molly Gagnon, OU’s marketing coordinator, said the university received $186,000 in funding from outside grants and sponsorships to bring the fitness court to campus — including a $30,000 grant from the National Fitness Campaign, $5,000 from the OU Student Congress, $1,000 from the Brooksie Way mini grant program and $150,000 from Priority Health.

“While we are still determining our final expenses, there are no university general fund dollars being used,” Gagnon said.

In a statement, Diane Wolfenden, the vice president of Priority Health’s east region, said a multifaceted approach to health is the cornerstone of the partnership with OU.

“We see this as an opportunity to collaborate on innovative initiatives that are not only at the forefront of healthy choices, but will make a meaningful impact in the community,” she said in a statement. “This is another way for us to help people improve their quality of life.”

For more information, visit oakland.edu/recwell.

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