Fitness & Health

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Kick your semester into shape with soccer

Photo by Brianna Campigotto

The new semester means the beginning of the University of Ottawa’s fall intramural recreational sports. The rigours of starting a new academic year mean it can be a stressful time for students, both new and returning. It’s easy to forget the physically active summer you had and slump into a pile of books and Kraft Dinners.

For me and countless other like-minded enthusiasts, the beginning of the sports schedule means one thing: the return of soccer.

Soccer is a fantastic way to keep healthy and maintain that summer body you worked so hard for. It’s great cardiovascular exercise and good training for the often-neglected leg muscles. You can take it almost entirely at your own pace—you can walk, jog, or run whenever you feel like it—and it’s a whole lot more interesting than a half hour on the treadmill.

There are three ways to play soccer at the U of O: varsity level (for the most elite of athletes), intramurals (for enthusiasts with a competitive streak), and pickup games. The university’s Gee-Gees field and Montpetit gym provide an all-weather artificial turf field with floodlights and spacious top quality gyms, respectively.

Intramural soccer is a chance to group up with your friends and take on other teams in the numerous leagues organized by the university. There are male, female, and co- ed leagues, each with its own unique brand of play and competitive bite. You can also sign up individually; once all the teams have been organized, those with an extra spot will be assigned players from the individual pools. But beware, these spots are in high demand and it’s first-come, first-serve.

If the competitive and structured nature of organized sports isn’t really your thing,

or perhaps you’re too busy to make the commitment, there’s still a place for you at the Matt Anthony field. Pickup games are every weekday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pickup games are free to all students.

Both options offer a chance to socialize with friendly students from around the globe who have all come to share their love of playing soccer. The games are usually fastpaced, competitive, and highly sporting, reflecting the calibre of the university’s students.