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Cats on the grind


The UK club dodgeball team starts a dodgeball scrimmage during practice at the Johnson Recreation Center on Monday, March 4, 2019, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Kentucky Kernel Staff.

University of Kentucky students find community and creative ways to stay active in the Johnson Recreation Center.


Opened in 2003, the Johnson Recreation Center, located at 430 Complex Drive, serves as a central location where UK students can find their own way of staying healthy and active on campus while also finding a unique place in their community.


The two-story, 87,000 square foot facility was named after fitness pioneer Bernard Johnson, who was described as a lifelong promoter of physical education and recreation according to previous Campus Recreation Director Bill Pieratt.


The facility was made for students to be able to pursue fitness in any way that they wanted. Students have the opportunity to use one of the four basketball courts, the four tennis courts, a climbing wall, two fitness/weights sections, multiple aerobic studios and a four-lane jogging track.


The JC offers many different classes for students to take such as cycling, Zumba, yoga, and TRX. These classes can be taken in person or on Zoom. Information on the date and times of these classes can be found on UK’s Campus Recreation website. There is no registration, and it's only requested that you show up on time.


They offer a multitude of different equipment that students can check out as well. Such as tennis rackets for anyone who wants to try out tennis and chalk, harnesses for students who are interested in rock climbing, weights for powerlifting and more, all of which is completely free for UK students.


There is a large variety of talent to be found at the JC, with intramural teams for beginners who want to join a more relaxed group in an activity they enjoy, to more experienced club teams that play and practice for competitions together at the center. These groups include soccer, basketball, tennis, dodgeball and many more that can also be found on the UK Campus Recreation website.


Mackenzie Dulimba is a student and manager at the facility and said students like the JC for a variety of reasons.


“They come here and they’re still able to participate with other people at their level and be able to have fun and still get that competition out,” she said.


Students are also free to go and train by themselves in a learning oriented environment since the JC is completely free for students to use as it is included in tuition and only requires a student ID to get into the facility. Any student looking to get involved with intramural teams or club teams can go through BBNvolved.


The JC is a place where everyone can come and find their own personal and creative way of staying active. “I think it just helps you find your community on campus. I feel like there’s a place everywhere on campus for students and you just have to find it, and sometimes that’s the gym,” Dulimba said.


With the wide range of activities and clubs offered there comes a large group of people for students to find their community within.


“We have powerlifting clubs that come here ... we also have people that do rock walls and rock climbing and it kind of gives you a wide variety of people to meet from everywhere,” Dulimba said.


UK senior Hannah Hohn said that she uses the JC everyday to workout and also train personal training clients. “I go to the JC every day. I use the weights area, the studio rooms, the track and cardio machines,” she said.


“My main focus when working with my clients is improving strength, endurance, overall fitness and improving body composition," Hohn said. "I really enjoy helping people reach their fitness goals."


Hohn applied to become a personal trainer at UK campus recreation at the start of last year. She said she uses the JC and Alumni Gym to train her five different clients multiple days a week.


“It makes a positive difference in my life and I am always in a good mood after leaving there,” Hohn said. “I like how the environment there is very welcoming and that everyone is there for the same reason: to be active. The community is helpful and nonjudgmental.”


Because of its judgment-free and supportive atmosphere, Hohn also recommends the JC as a great place for beginners to start their fitness journey.


“I would recommend the JC to a beginner because there are many classes offered that are beginner friendly, personal training is offered and people at the JC will be happy to help if a beginner has any questions.” Hohn said.

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