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UW Ranks Highly in National Collegiate Fitness Survey

June 27, 2016
room full of people riding stationary bicycles
Students participate in a spin class at the UW Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center. The National Collegiate Fitness Index ranks UW No. 4 as a physically active campus among 29 small public universities. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming ranks No. 4 as a physically active campus among 29 small public universities, according to a recent national survey.

The National Collegiate Fitness Index (NCFI) ranks U.S. college and university campuses for their physical and programmatic resources that promote active living and healthy lifestyles in students, faculty and staff. Research shows that regular physical activity has numerous benefits, including reducing risk of some diseases and disorders, and improving mental health.

At UW, students and employees have access to programs and activities through the College of Health Sciences, the Division of Kinesiology and Health, and Campus Recreation, which includes the Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center, and the Outdoor Program.

“The collective commitment to promoting physical activity through evidence-based health and wellness programming is supported by contemporary kinesiology and physical education academic programs, a state-of-the-art recreation center, intramural sports and outdoor recreation,” says Derek Smith, director of the Division of Kinesiology and Health. “Our goal is to build on this national recognition by continuing to promote an active campus and healthy lifestyles within our students and employees.”

UW is the only Mountain West Conference school listed in the small public universities category. Among other universities in the region, Western State Colorado University ranks third; Southern Utah University is 13th; the University of Nebraska-Kearney placed 20th; and the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University rank 24th and 28th, respectively.

“UW’s ranking should be celebrated, but also serve as a springboard for future infrastructure, resource and policy decisions that make UW the benchmark that our peer institutions strive to match,” Smith says.

The NCFI considered factors affecting physical activity on campuses in three areas: transportation, recreation infrastructure, and recreation and educational policies and services.

Factors considered in the transportation category were existence of a campus walking and bicycling plan, perimeter-free parking, a bike sharing or rental program, and the publicly available Walk Score.

In the recreation infrastructure area, the survey considered the number of cardio/weight training rooms, tennis courts, basketball courts, racquetball courts, swimming pools, running tracks, baseball and softball fields, soccer and football fields, rock climbing walls, skating rinks, golf holes, and marina and rowing facilities.

Twelve factors were considered in the recreation and educational policies and services category: required physical education classes and required health/wellness classes; the number of physical education class sections per semester; the presence of a kinesiology or exercise science program; participation in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise is Medicine on Campus program; the number of intramural and extramural sports offered per year; the number of outdoor recreation trips offered per year; the number of group fitness classes offered per week; personal training services offered; fitness testing offered; and physical activity and wellness counseling services offered.

To view the NCFI rankings, including an explanation of the methodology used, go to

The NCFI is a collaborative project among the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Kinesiology Association and the National Academy of Kinesiology.

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