There are numerous ways to stay active at U of T. SANDY MA/THE VARSITY

On a warm August stroll through The Annex, I observe student passerbys who call this place home. August is a funny month — students try to extract every last drop of summer goodness, in the hopes of forgetting the approach of the school year, which will be filled with all-nighters and impossibly long readings.

A healthy way to avoid studying — or supplement it, as many studies conclude — is to keep active during the school year. Contrary to popular belief, U of T actually has many facilities, programs, and organizations that can support your individual athletic goals.

Take gyms and fitness centres, for instance. UTSG houses the Athletic Centre, the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, Varsity Centre, and Hart House Fitness Centre. Among these facilities, you can take your pick of weight rooms, swimming pools, tennis and squash courts, tracks, and strength and conditioning studios. Experiment with the different places to find which one best suits your needs.

On top of typical fitness facilities — cardio and weight rooms, swimming pools, tracks, and courts — the UTM Recreation Athletics and Wellness Centre offers golf cages and beach volleyball courts, which are both great ways to keep the summer alive.

At UTSC, the Department of Athletics and Recreation takes care of your athletic needs with a multi-purpose double gymnasium, a cardio theatre, a strength and conditioning centre, and even a diamond for die-hard baseball addicts that love to play late into the fall. You can also venture into the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre to use the same facilities that champion athletes from all over the world have used.

With valid T-Card in hard, U of T students that pay incidental fees have access to all of these facilities. You shouldn’t limit yourself to just one venue; try to make use of all of your exclusive memberships.

If instructor-led activities are more your style, you should peruse through the abundance of fitness classes that the university has to offer. With your choice of drop-in or registered classes that range from beginner to expert at all of the aforementioned facilities.

Classes cover everything from ginga — the rhythmic footwork of capoeira — to archery, which is the perfect opportunity for any toxophilites that are itching to get their hands on a bow. Some classes are free, while others charge a fee, but there are certainly plenty of options.

Alternatively, if a community feel is what you’re looking for within this university, joining an intramural team can do wonders for your physical and social lives. You can sign up through your college or faculty’s Intramural Representative, and schedules generally run semesterly over the fall, winter, and summer. You can simply visit the U of T Intramurals website for a detailed list of sports and teams.

Taking the community aspect one step further, clubs and organizations are also an inclusive way to keep active. The Ulife website provides a comprehensive list of organizations that may tickle your athletic fancy. UofT Quidditch Team, Rotman Commerce Liquid Assets Dragon Boat Team, U of T Backpackers, and ultimate frisbee team Torontula make up only a sampling of the different clubs you can join.

Go forth, energy-filled students, and explore the athletic activities that surround you. As the summer comes to an end, I find myself taking a liking to the introductory fencing classes that the Athletic Centre has to offer. Of course I’ve never tried it before, but poking others with sticks sounds like a great way to pass time.

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