Maintaining a healthy balance between personal time and work time is a vital part of a student’s mental and physical health. In recognition of this, Washington University in St. Louis has multiple facilities available for students to unwind and work out.


In 2005–06, the second floor of the Spencer T. Olin Residence Hall was renovated to house the Student Health and Activities Center (SHAC), a fully equipped, 24-hour fitness center free to all medical students and graduate students in professional programs at the medical school.
In addition to six HDTVs with DirecTV, the aerobic conditioning room offers:

  • Three Freemotion Incline trainer treadmills
  • Three Star Trac professional-grade treadmills
  • There are also six variable-stride elliptical machines
  • Two spinning bicycles
  • Two upright stationary bicycles
  • Two rowing machines

The strength-training room offers a mirrored free-weights zone as well as a full series of weight machines, including:

  • A digital stereo sound system
  • Flat and incline bench press
  • Squat rack
  • Smith machine
  • Cable crossover and pulldown machine
  • Free-weight area with bar for deadlifting and benches for dumbbell workouts
  • Three sets of dumbells, ranging from 3 lbs to 100 lbs
  • Multiple lifting machines, including upper body and legs
  • Heavy and speed boxing bags
  • Abs lifting area with padded mats

Lockers in the aerobic conditioning room are available for short-term storage of items during your workout. Shower facilities, changing areas, restrooms and long-term lockers are in the men’s’ and women’s’ locker rooms in the basement of Olin. In addition to the SHAC, the medical school has a gymnasium and small workout area in the basement of Olin. It’s generally available in the evenings, and a number of students enjoy informal pickup games of basketball, volleyball, broomball and floor hockey. Several free student-led classes in aerobics, Pilates and yoga are offered each semester, so watch for announcements and schedules (or start your own class!).

Weights and machines are generally availably immediately throughout the day. Users may experience a 5- to 10-minute line for popular equipment (treadmills, squat rack, bench press) during peak hours between 4 and 6 pm, depending on the season. That said, your peers are generally very accommodating and willing to share equipment during these times.


​If you crave a change of scenery for your workout, the Athletic Complex on the Danforth Campus is only a short (and free!) MetroLink ride away. Outdoor facilities include a track, tennis courts and several playing fields. Indoors you will find the swimming pool, field house, weight room and courts for racquetball, squash and table tennis, all accessible at no charge with your valid Washington University ID. For a small annual fee, students and their spouses can use the McWilliams Fitness Center, which houses a wide variety of cardiovascular equipment including treadmills, stationary bicycles, rowing machines, stair climbing machines and elliptical trainers. For facility hours and membership fees, visit the athletic complex website. Long-term lockers can be rented for an annual fee, and racquets and other equipment can be checked out from the equipment room at no charge with your valid Washington University ID.


​The BJC WellAware Center is operated by BJC HealthCare and provides a comfortable workout atmosphere for members of the BJC and Washington University School of Medicine communities. For aerobic conditioning, WellAware offers treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical, rowing and stair-climbing machines; ample free weights and a complete circuit of BodyMaster weight machines are provided for strength training. WellAware also has a small indoor track, an aerobics studio, a variety of fitness classes, lockers and shower facilities, certified personal trainers and massage therapists. The one-time $50 initiation fee includes a personal fitness assessment and group exercise classes. The current student rate is $28/month. Located at 600 S. Taylor Ave., WellAware is a short walk from all medical center buildings. Call (314) 286-0525 for more information.


​In addition, the St. Louis metro area offers several YMCA branches, a number of independently owned fitness centers and several franchised facilities, including Gold’s Gym, Powerhouse and Bally’s. Many gyms offer student discounts.