Fitness & Health

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Get your workout on without ever needing to set foot in the gym

Photo: Spencer Murdock

Exercise is important—it keeps us healthy, happy, and helps us manage stress. Yet even with its benefits, it often takes a back seat to other important activities in the daily student routine, such as going to class, studying, working, all while maintaining a social life outside of Facebook.

For those who find going to the gym uninspiring, fitting in the time to exercise may seem even more daunting. Here are some alternative ways to get your daily dose, all while avoiding the gym.

The great outdoors

Go outside! Ottawa is known for its picturesque scenery along the canal and its many other parks. People of all ages are always biking, roller skating, running or walking on the numerous paths designed especially for you to get moving and take in the fresh air.

As winter rolls in, running outdoors may not seem as appealing as it did during the warmer months. If you enjoy the colder weather and are looking to get some cardio and work new muscles, try skating! Skating is an often-overlooked activity for those who didn’t grow up playing sports on ice. The canal is the obvious choice in the dead of winter, but the U of O and the City of Ottawa have public skating times in the arenas across the city year round.

There is also an outdoor skating rink located in front of city hall and beside the canal, which boasts a great view of the Ottawa skyline and Parliament. The only downside to this option is that you might be tempted to buy a Beavertail after your workout from the stand located next to the rink.

Join a class

Fitness classes are another fantastic way to get exercise while pretending not to. Whether you’re more experienced or looking for a more casual setting, fitness classes offered by Sports Services has it covered. Beyond getting the exercise, staff and students can sign up with friends or individually to meet new people.

This is ideal for those who require extra motivation to get up and go by turning exercise into a social activity.

Having a friend’s company can turn even the most unpleasant activities into a fun hangout. From swimming, to kickboxing, to a casual run in the park, going with a friend is sure to brighten the mood.

A little friendly competition can even be motivational. Schedule a weekly run or challenge each other while learning a new sport. The possibilities are endless!