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Foolproof fitness

MY FIRST YEAR in Ottawa, I flat out refused to adapt my activities to the cold weather. I had grown up on the West Coast, where skiing, golfing, and surfing were perfectly normal ways to spend a December afternoon. Thus, I thought nothing of it when I pulled on my thin layers of Under Armour and headed outside for a jog to Parliament Hill one December day. Did I mention it was -25 C?

Numb from the cold, I didn’t realize the extent of what I had done until I had returned to residence. My roommates were quick to point out the purplish welts that were spreading all over my body and the contents of my sinuses, which had migrated all over my face. They rolled me up in several blankets like a frozen burrito and fed me shots of Baileys until I could once again feel all of my extremities.

Learn from my mistake, friends. There will come a time when it is necessary to move your outdoor workout inside. When that time comes, remember that there is always a way to keep fit and stay motivated.

Be prepared and keep a change of gym clothes, a water bottle, and running shoes packed at all times. Keep this in your backpack, so you’ll be more likely to head to the gym after a lecture in Montpetit, or by the door, so that you can grab it for a quick morning workout.

Pick a friend or two and try a group fitness class. They are held indoors (score) and you will generate enough body heat to forget all about the four feet of snow visible outside the windows. Group fitness classes are offered seven days a week at multiple times throughout the day so you can squeeze one in before or after class. Check the schedule out here:

Have a backup plan in case the walk to the gym seems completely unbearable. Keep a yoga mat, a few free weights, and a balance ball in your room, and improvise if necessary. Another fun alternative is a dance party. Crank the cheesy ‘90s music (think The Hit Zone) and keep moving. Pro tip: Close the blinds first.

—Sarah Horlick