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Fitness Suite

Working out at Emmanuel has never been easier with the recent opening of a new College Fitness Suite in the basement of 22 Parkside.

When exam stress reaches unmanageable levels, with books towering high above your head, close to collapse, and your eyes struggling to focus on even the bolder and chunky lettering, the need to let off some steam is essential to regain any sense of well-being. Some choose to knock back a frosty pint; others would rather relax and read a
book or watch a film. But some like to exercise.

For this final group, working out at Emmanuel has never been easier with the recent opening of a new College Fitness Suite in the basement of 22 Parkside. Equipped by a donation to the College by Michael Jones (1964), the Suite opened in early 2012 and boasts two treadmills, two rowing machines, three cycling machines, half-a-dozen weight training machines, core strengthening equipment and a rack of free weights.

The Suite’s popularity was immediate, with students keeping the machines buzzing all hours of the day. Sophia Dzwig, a first-year reading Modern and Medieval Languages, uses it two to three times a week, as do most of her friends: ‘I use it for exam relief and to get fit. I have done spinning and other classes at Kelsey Kerridge in the past, but this is free and the equipment is really good.’

Research Fellow James Wade and James Purdon, who is doing a PhD in English, both use the Suite at least once a week to improve their general fitness, mainly focusing on weight circuit training. ‘I started doing some weights, which I wouldn’t have done before because there wasn’t anywhere handy and easy to work in,’ says James Purdon ‘and I have found that I think clearer and that it is mentally helpful. I know I wouldn’t be using another fitness suite if this one wasn’t here because this is my ninth year in Cambridge and I have never joined a gym in all those years.’

James Wade echoed his thoughts; ‘I’d probably just be sitting on my sofa. It’s the convenience. After a busy day it’s nice to have somewhere close where it takes up the minimum amount of time.’

College staff from all departments have also been utilising the Fitness Suite on a daily basis, as Sarah Sleight, a household supervisor in North Court, says: ‘this is fantastic for staff, it’s a godsend. It saves us a lot of money and is great stress relief after a busy day. I was one of the first [members of staff to use it] and I have recruited many others since. On a personal level the Suite has been of great use for me. I recently completed my first half marathon (something I would not have dreamt of doing 12 months ago) and working in the Development Office and having all of this equipment so nearby after work every day was a great aid to my training and developing my fitness.

As expressed by everyone I spoke to about the Suite, as a stress buster it is second to none and if you improve your health and wellbeing at the same time then that is no bad thing.

The Suite’s popularity was immediate, with students keeping the machines buzzing all hours of the day!

The Fitness Suite contains

Fitness training

  • Group exercise bike (2)
  • Recline exercise bike
  • Rowing machine (2)
  • Treadmill (2)

Weight training

  • Adjustable bench
  • ARKE kit for core training
  • Chest press
  • Dumbbell set
  • Leg curl
  • Leg extension
  • Low row
  • Shoulder press
  • Vertical traction

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