By Aurora Anderson, April 30 2018 —
As the semester winds down and exam stress begins to take its toll, we often forget how relaxing a simple walk can be. Fitness goals and workout routines can take the backseat when end-of-semester pressures weigh us down. For some students, this carries over into the spring and summer semesters. Whether you’re continuing studies after exam season or not, even a short stroll can improve mental health and give an energy boost to beat lingering stress.
If you only have 30 minutes to spare and are debating between eating or exercising, walk to the grocery store for a quick bite. If you have more time, try fitting a walking routine into your study sessions. On campus, the Taylor Family Digital Library has installed walking treadmills that allow you to engage in physical activity without sacrificing a minute of much-needed cram time. Walking is also gentle on the wallet and you can easily set the pace for what works best for your needs. If you are looking for places to explore off campus, here are some great paths to try.
Confederation park is only a 10-minute drive from the university and has plenty of parking. It’s also accessible from SAIT or Lion’s Park CTrain stations. The park’s 400 acres of developed green space is rich with trees that offer a relaxing backdrop for a walk. Plenty of benches and grassy spots are also available for resting along the way. The park follows the course of the North Hill Coulee, which supports a large variety of plants — see how many different types of trees you can count while there!
Nose Hill Park:
Nose Hill Park offers plateaus, scenic views and over 200 types of plants. The park is full of aspen, providing ample shade on hot sunny days. Furthermore, there’s also plenty of wildlife, like deer, coyotes and birds to watch as you walk along the paved pathways. The closest entry point to Nose Hill from U of C is on 14th St. NW and is only a 12-minute drive away. You can also access the park by catching route 9 at the bus loop outside of Craigie Hall and getting off at 52nd Ave. and Brisbois Dr. From there, it’s a quick walk north to the Many Owls Parking Lot adjacent to John Laurie Blvd.
With its sprawling canopy of trees in the summer and early fall, Bowness is one of the prettiest walks in Calgary. It follows the Bow River Pathway and offers an escape from Calgary’s bustle without leaving the city limits. There are plenty of benches you can sit and study on if you need to hit the books but want to be outdoors. Bowness Park’s most accessible entry point is just off Memorial Drive East.
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park:
Just outside city limits near Cochrane, Glenbow Ranch provides a remarkable getaway if you are craving the big sky and great views. The majority of the park is located on the north bank of the Bow River and is woven with a smoothly paved path that is accessible for all levels of ability. The expansive grassy fields, crisp mountain scenery and escape from the sounds of city life offers a great way to recharge.
Downtown Art Walk:
If you prefer to stay within the city centre the downtown art walk showcases creative work by many local artists. There are over 60 pieces to view and you don’t have to follow a specific route, so you can take control of your walk. There are many great murals and unusual pieces to enjoy that can take your mind off looming responsibilities and reconnect you with your creative side. For a map of the Downtown Art Walk, click here.
Whether you walk for 20 minutes or an hour — getting up and stretching during studying or after a long day of sitting is essential for strong overall health. Walking is a simple activity that gets your blood moving and the body out for some fresh air. If you can’t commit to a day in the park or a longer walk, even a stroll around the block, or to your local green space or around campus is good for the heart.