Finding time to workout with a busy student schedule can be tricky. But the stress relief and endorphin kick of exercise enhances both physical health and academic performance. Between the Active Living Center and student clubs, the University of Calgary offers tons of ways to get active. Here are a few fun options.
Your UCID grants free access into the Fitness Centre in Kinesiology A. The space is crowded and stuffy but full of cardio machines ranging from treadmills to stairmasters. A smooth track on the second floor can also meet your cardio needs. A wide variety of weight machines and free weights are available to help you de-stress after tough study sessions. The space is busiest around mid-morning and late afternoon — and it gets busy. If it’s too crowded, try supersetting with whoever is using your weight of choice. This will introduce you to new people while working out – a double-win!
Running is often dismissed as boring but can actually be refreshing and enjoyable. If you don’t like running indoors, looping the campus paths is a nice alternative. Go early in the morning or evening when the paths aren’t congested. You can also access Confederation Park by crossing the Crowchild overpass near the CTrain station and heading east on 24 Ave. until 14 St. The park’s lush trees and trickling streams offer an idyllic break from studying.
Music and movement touch the soul in a way that sitting in a desk can’t — and it’s certainly not limited to dance majors. The enticing music and intricate movements of Active Living’s Zumba and belly dance classes are engaging enough that it hardly feels like a workout — until after when your core and glutes are on fire. For those wanting to try a variety of styles, there are campus clubs that focus on hip-hop, swing, social dance and cheerleading. The best way to get into these is finding their table at Clubs Week.
Conquering a climbing wall works almost every muscle in your body and makes you feel like a total badass. The U of C’s wall is hidden in the basement of the Kinesiology complex. To climb on campus, you must attend an orientation to learn safety regulations, equipment use and communication signals. After passing the belay test, you are free to use the 13-meter wall fitted with quartzite holds and horizontal ceiling panels. You can also experiment with the three bouldering walls which are set with new routes on a regular basis.
The Olympic Oval
Whether or not you’re new to Calgary, cold weather will become a normal part of your life — embrace it! The Olympic Oval is home of the “fastest ice in the world” and is the training grounds of Canada’s national speed skating team. Sharpen your skates and skills by enjoying a free public skate or by taking a class. Recreational hockey leagues and figure skating are also available. Helmets are mandatory for most on-ice activities and can be rented for $2.50.
Channel pent-up frustration in one of the campus’ combat classes. Aikido, kickboxing and fencing are detail-oriented, challenging you mentally and physically. The intense, one-on-one nature of these sports will help you forget about looming responsibilities. Capoeria is a Brazilian dance-based martial art that is highly creative and challenges you to find strength through vulnerability.
Alberta boasts world-renowned hiking trails and scenery, and exercising outdoors often feels more rewarding than working out inside. The Outdoor Center offers everything from group hiking to canoeing to mountain climbing. When winter hits, go back-country skiing or snowshoeing to alleviate midterm stress. The Outdoor Center can likely satisfy whatever your outdoorsy spirit is craving.
Water sports are intense but low-impact workouts that sharpen your mind. The schedule for the pool in Kinesiology B is on the Aquatic Center’s website. Lane swimming is available as early as 7:30 a.m. For those with a competitive edge, synchronized swimming and triathlon training is also offered.
Learn how to unwind and quiet your mind in free yoga classes. A registered teacher guides classes of varying intensity levels in That Empty Space — an SU-run facility used for various student activities. It’s on the first floor of MacHall, down the hall from the jewelry store. Mats and foam blocks are free to borrow and the instructor provides any additional equipment. The room fills fast so try to get there early — class times are posted on the SU website.
You can continue those lunch-time dodgeball games from high school by joining intramural sports through Active Living. The laid-back, social nature of intramural sports is a fun way to shake off study stress. Form a team, come up with a name and face off others in everything from ball hockey to Quidditch. Individual sports like badminton and kayaking are also options.