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Caleb Burke | Anamul Hasan

More Hours for


Otto?
On the weekend hours of Otto Recreation Center

Introduction

Recreation centers for use by students and faculty have become staples of college
campuses around the world. The availability of an exercise center plays an important role
in the health and happiness of students. Given the hours during the school week, Otto
Recreation Center at MSU Mankato is very accessible, in terms of time, to students. Over
the weekend, however, the recreation center is open for less hours and opens much later
than during the week. This can inconvenience students who would like to workout in the
morning, as many have obligations other than going to class, and as such do not have a
clear schedule on a Sunday that some others may have. If usage of earlier hours would be
adequate, there is virtually no reason to maintain the current opening hours over the
weekend for Otto Recreation Center.

Methods
We collected information by sending a link to a survey to our peers to get an idea
of what the desire for a change in Otto Recreation Center hours might be. The survey
consisted of three multiple-choice questions, and is shown below:
Question 1
Do you use Otto Rec Center for training and/or recreation?
Yes
No

Question 2
What is your preferred time to use Otto Rec Center?
Early morning (6-9)
Mid-morning (9-12)
Afternoon (12-5)
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Evening (5-11)

Question 3
If Otto opened earlier on weekends (9 am, for instance), would you use this earlier time?
Yes, often
Yes, once in a while
No
Of those sent a link to the survey, eleven completed it. Alongside the results of the
survey, we collected information online from articles and journals. In all, we collected
eight sources, and a literature review exploring the content of these follows.

Literature Review
People are told throughout their lives that exercise is important to be happy and healthy,
but many people have trouble deciding on a time to do it. Morning exercise has been
found to have more benefits than afternoon or evening exercise, but exercise, at any time,
has a positive effect on people.

Morning Exercise
Some people may forego a morning workout to get more sleep, but exercising in
the morning has been linked to better sleep that evening. In a study conducted by
Appalachian State University, those who exercised for half an hour in the morning,
experienced significantly better sleep compared to those who exercised mid-day or in
the evening (Reichert). Rather than for better sleep, however, many exercise in order to
get/stay in shape. For this, consistency is important, and exercising in the morning is
known to be a good way of staying consistent. Getting a workout in before starting daily
responsibilities is an effective strategy to avoid pushing off the exercise as new tasks
arise throughout the day. Consistent time of day for exercise also has the benefit of
regulating the bodys cycles. If the exercise is outside, the exposure to the sun in the
morning can help regulate your sleep/wake cycle (What Time). One particular study
performed on mice involved either allowing the mice free access to a wheel or access
only at specific times. It was found that if the wheel was only available for a total of six
hours a day, rather than at all times, the mice were actually more active. This consistent
exercise also regulated the activity peaks of different systems within the mice
(Schroeder). In addition, morning exercise, especially before breakfast, increases weight
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loss. This is due to more efficient fat-burning while exercising in a fasting state (i.e. Right
after sleeping). For these reasons, exercising in the morning is better than other times of
day (Reichert, Schroeder, What Time).

Afternoon Exercise
Exercising in the afternoon has similar effects to morning exercise on sleep
quality. This could be due to body temperature changes caused by exercise. Exercising
increases body temperature for several hours, after which body temperature lowers,
which signals your body to start shifting into sleep mode (What Time). There are also
physiological benefits to exercising in the afternoon relating to body temperature. In the
afternoon, the body is warmer than in the morning, which can help muscles perform more
efficiently (Diet, What Time).

Frequent Exercise
While exercising at different times can have varying effects on sleep, some
benefits take effect no matter the time of the workout. Exercising has been linked to
better cognitive function and academic performance. Studies also suggest exercise plays
a big part in the production of new brain cells, particularly in the dentate gyrus, a part of
the brain heavily involved in learning and memory skills (Richardson). Even just thirty
minutes of exercise a day for grade school students, coupled with a math class, resulted in
about a 20% increase in math test scores, compared to a 4% growth for non-exercisers
(Richardson). In a separate study on college students, with many factors relating to
grades being controlled, consistent exercise resulted in GPA scores to be higher by 0.4, on
average (Parker-Pope). Another benefit, and one that especially appeals to college
students, is that exercise reduces, and helps manage, stress. A big component of this is
that exercise reduces endorphins within the brain, which cause the person to feel happier
and more energetic (Physical). A release from the Center for Disease Control shows
that most people around the age of college students, from 18 to 24, get the recommended
amount of exercise and therefore get the benefits that go along with it (Early Release).
For college students, finding time during the day to exercise amid everything else they
have/want to get done can be difficult, especially when the goal is to exercise at around
the same time every day. For many students, the morning may be the most open time for
exercise, before they start classes or doing homework. While this is certainly possible
during the week with Otto Recreation Centers current hours, it becomes impossible to
keep this workout time consistency over the weekend, when the opening hours become
later.

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Results

Question 1

11

Yes

No

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Question 2

4
5

Early Morning

Mid-morning

Afternoon

Evening

Question 3

Yes, often

Yes, once in a while

No

The charts above depict the results of the survey. Although the sample size here is
small, these results show that at least some students would prefer an earlier weekend
opening time for Otto, and a larger proportion than this would, at least on occasion, take
advantage of this availability. It is worth noting that the majority of those surveyed are on
a sports team at Mankato. This likely skewed the amount of usage Otto Recreation Center

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gets. However, seeing as athletes make up a significant portion of those who frequent the
recreation center, the results concerning the earlier opening time can still be seen as, at
least mostly, valid. From the results, we can see that, while it may not be the most
popular time for Otto Recreation Center, an earlier opening for Otto would benefit a
decent amount of students.

Recommendations
We recommend that Otto Recreation Centers hours be extended in the morning to
9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. This would provide greater availability of the
recreation center to all students and therefore making it more convenient for students to
use Otto in the morning. Given the relatively low worker-requirements to have the
recreation center open, these few extra hours will not be a great cost to the university
while they may greatly benefit the students use Otto.

Conclusion
Currently, Otto Recreation Centers weekend hours are unideal for those who
want to do a workout earlier in the day. The collected research points to the ideas that a
consistent time of exercise is important, that the morning is the best time to exercise, and
that many college students exercise regularly. These ideas, along with the results of the
conducted survey, show that changing Ottos opening time to 9 am on weekends would
be a beneficial change for many MSU Mankato students. The work-study students who
work in Otto would also be positively affected by the extended hours. Those who are
willing to wake up a little bit earlier on the weekends would be able to make more money
than before. These reasons all suggest that it would be a good idea to make earlier the
time that Otto Recreation Center opens on Saturday and Sunday.

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