Five ways to avoid the freshmen 15

Lifestyle Sports | Lifestyle

Your guide to staying fit this semester, for the freshmen and fresh-fourth-years alike

Graphic by Cam Welch

Trying to maintain a fitness routine once classes begin can be daunting. Many university students no longer participate in the sports they played in high school, or they struggle to find the time and motivation to stay active. 

For those who brave the early September queue to buy a CARSA membership, actually putting it to use can be the real challenge. That said, staying fit while going to school is possible, it just requires a little extra planning. Here’s five ways to make sure you stay active this semester. 

1.Put it in writing

People make time for important things like classes, work, and social obligations. Exercise should be no different. There is room in even the busiest schedules for a few hours of physical activity each week. Take a close look at how you use your time –– most people can eliminate some social media scrolling or wake up half an hour earlier –– then block off those chunks of time in your agenda, planner, or online calendar and treat them as non-negotiable commitments. It’s easy to start skipping workouts when “more important” things come up, but your health should be a top priority.

2. Grab a friend

Combine your workout and your social life by bringing a friend. Meet at the gym, go for a jog, walk (yes, continuous, brisk walking counts as cardio), and gossip for a half hour. Involving another person increases accountability, which means you are less likely to skip your sweat session in favour of a Netflix binge.

3. Join a class

Like exercising with a friend, signing up for a class is another great way to keep yourself accountable –– you won’t want to skip a workout that you’ve paid for! 

Victoria has a variety of gyms that offer different styles of training. Orangetheory Fitness offers heart rate-focused training at their downtown and Westshore locations. The studios incorporate treadmills, spin bikes, rowing machines, and weights into their workouts, and the first class is free! Oak Bay Fitness on Oak Bay Avenue almost always has a special offer for new members and currently offers a student discount available in-studio. Members have their choice of spin, yoga, pilates, BoxFit, and cross-training. Neither Orangetheory nor Oak Bay Fitness have fixed-rate long-term contracts, you just pay for the number of classes you want to attend.

If a traditional gym setting is more your style, many gyms like CARSA and Goodlife Fitness also offer group fitness classes alongside standard gym facilities.

4. Liven up your commute

Use the time you’d spend commuting as time to get moving. Try getting to campus by bicycle or on foot. If you want to avoid being sweaty when you get to class, take public transit to school, and walk or bike home. It’s worth noting that with B.C. Transit bus routes it might actually be quicker for you to bike to campus. If you have a long commute, get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. You’ll be using time that you would have spent sitting still to be active, and you will likely feel more awake and refreshed than you would have if you spent the rest of the trip zoned out on a bus.

5. Go on an #adventure

Victoria is full of and surrounded by natural beauty. UVic backs onto Mystic Vale, a short trail through the woods that includes two sets of stairs perfect for running stair repeats. Beach Drive and Dallas Road offer scenic ocean-view routes for walking, jogging, or cycling. Mount Doug has a variety of forested trails leading up to a summit viewpoint. If you have access to a vehicle, then East Sooke Park is a beautiful place for a weekend hike. The trail up to the trestle bridge at Goldstream is an iconic route worth doing both for the thrill of walking out onto the bridge (you probably don’t want to look down), and for the ‘gram.

September is a month of adjustment for new and returning students alike. Use this time before due dates and midterms start piling up to make physical activity part of your routine. Yes, classes are important, but creating healthy habits now will benefit you not only while you get your degree, but for the rest of your life.