JING TEY/THE VARSITY

The turmoil of university life can really restrict the amount of time we have to move our bodies! Even for people who have always been enthusiastic about sports and fitness, it can be all too easy to relegate exercise to the bottom of our priority lists, especially when our piles of schoolwork often take precedence. Despite our heavy workloads, it’s valuable to dedicate time to fun and enjoyable exercise. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore; once you find activities you’re really interested in, exercise can energize, inspire, and help you focus on your day-to-day tasks. Here are some ideas for where to start: 

Join a drop-in activity

U of T offers many drop-in, instructor-led classes, from intense, sweat-inducing Boot Camp Fun, to invigorating Zumba. My personal favourite is doing a lunchtime yoga class between lectures. Drop-in activities are free for students — well, they are included in our incidental fees. They’re offered at the Athletic and Goldring Centres, as well as at Hart House. You can find the class schedules on their respective websites.

Check out a recreational club at U of T 

U of T hosts a variety of recreational clubs, including groups that explore the outdoors, go scuba diving, practice martial arts, and do hip-hop. Recreational clubs are not only a fun way to exercise, but also to join a community of new, like-minded people. 

Sign up for an intramural sports team 

Soccer, basketball, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and flag football are just some of the many intramural sports offered at U of T. Intramural teams compete against other colleges and faculties within the university. Signing up for an intramural means finding a team and committing to playing games throughout the semester. This is a great option for those who have a competitive streak!

Find an exercise friend

Finding a friend to exercise with can be a great way to stay fit. Personally, having exercise buddies makes me feel supported, especially when my motivation is running low. Walk and talk, go rock climbing together, go for a refreshing swim, or reserve a badminton, squash, tennis, or table tennis court.

Consider registering for MoveU.HappyU

Physical activity can boost your mood and help reduce negative feelings. So, if you’re struggling with your mental health and want to improve your level of physical activity, I highly recommend the MoveU.HappyU program. Participants develop skills to stick to an exercise program and improve physical and emotional well-being through goal-setting, planning, and self-monitoring. 

It can be difficult to achieve a balance between personal life and school while in university. It can also take a while to figure out what kind of physical activity suits you best at this point in your life. The real secret to staying fit as a frosh is as cliché as it sounds: keep exploring and don’t stop trying new things until you find something you enjoy.

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