In the first week of the semester — especially in the season of resolutions — the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Campus Recreation Center is experiencing a participation boom.

At the beginning of each semester, UNL Rec offers unlimited classes free for a one-week trial period, allowing students to explore the wide variety of fitness options.

Group fitness coordinator Sarah Lewis told The Daily Nebraskan that the average class size during the free week is 50 participants — much higher than the average throughout the year.

According to Lewis, the group exercise goes through a predictable pattern of a drop in attendance around the time students are taking the first tests of the semester, then an increase before spring break and during finals week.

 “We have free classes during finals week and we see a little bit of an uptick for that. Students usually have a little bit more flexibility in their schedules to come to [fitness] classes,” she says.

Among the benefits of group exercise, Lewis lists a fun community atmosphere and the ease of not having to create your own routine. She says, “A lot of people like having people with them when they work out, even if they’re not specifically talking to them.”

She says people can “just come in and follow along and not have to think of their own workout or think about coming up with a new idea. They can take the same class each week and they know exactly what they’re getting.”

The students certainly appreciate the value of the free week. As freshman ZitaAnne Reno told The Daily Nebraskan, “The free classes really allow you the sense of freedom to choose what is best for your body.”

Courtney Cameron is Editorial Assistant of Athletic Business.