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Exercise and Academia (Image 1)

MULTI-TASK. A Western student reviews her notes while making a smoothie.

For students, September is their January. Starting up classes and getting into a serious routine motivates people to try and become a better version of themselves — call it your “school year resolution.”

And just like the new year, one of the most common resolutions is to get in shape.

Whether you’re an avid gym goer, a semi-pro athlete or a devoted couch potato, getting into the swing of things during first semester can be difficult. You’ll be starting classes and trying to meet new people — all while attempting to get a feel for the school itself. It’s tough.

But if you put your mind to it and follow some of these tips, you can use this new experience as an opportunity to establish a healthy exercise routine to make up for all those late night trips to Burrito Boyz.

Establish a routine

This is probably the hardest part of trying to exercise. But one of the greatest parts of being a university student is the relatively flexible class hours. My recommendation: pick two or three days during the week with the least amount of class time (or a large break in between) and commit to going to the gym. Pack up workout clothes, tie your running shoes to your backpack and you’re good to go. 

Those of you living in residence are even more fortunate. There are small gyms located in rez buildings which usually come with a couple of cardio machines, some free weights and mat space.

Keep workout gear on campus

Getting comfortable with the Western Student Recreation Centre definitely takes some time. The Rec Centre houses exercise equipment, free weights, an Olympic-size swimming pool, ice rink, group fitness spaces and courts for all kinds of sports.

For those who don’t want to take up precious backpack space with workout gear, lockers are available to rent. You can rent a full or half locker for either one semester, both semesters or annually for a fee. There are also a bunch of lockers available for day use, free of charge.

Be aware of the gym's peak times 

You’ll also quickly learn that the gym can get very busy. Typically, the gym is at its busiest from around 6 to 8 p.m. during the week. Weekends are a lot lighter as more people go in the morning or afternoon.

Luckily, the Rec Centre has a Twitter account that tweets out the number of people in both the weights and cardio sections of the gym. Follow @WesternWeightRm for usage stats and announcements every half hour.

Go with a group

One of the best ways to get yourself to the gym is to go as a group or join an intramural team. Intramural teams are divided by skill level, with options for women's only, men's only and co-ed teams. The choices are endless: dodgeball, ice hockey, badminton, soccer and even quidditch. 

There are also a bunch of different fitness classes available throughout the week like cycling, pilates and yoga. The Western Recreation App is a great tool to check out what's being offered. On it you can see things like drop-in recreation schedules, group fitness classes and swim schedules. 

Finally, there are a bunch of sports clubs you can join. Some of the clubs offered include badminton, curling, dragon boat racing, squash and triathlon. 

You don’t have to stick to the gym

For those who don’t want to be stuck in the Rec Centre all year, there are options in the greater London community. There are tons of yoga studios, kick-boxing classes and even a couple of Good Life gyms within a 15-minute bus ride from campus. You’ll often see students jogging around campus as well.

The Wellness Education Centre, located in the basement of the University Community Centre, offers a bunch of classes including lunch hour yoga, line dancing and Zumba.

Balance is key

The main goal should be having fun and staying healthy. If you take full advantage of all of the health opportunities Western has to offer, you’ll be sure to have fun and hopefully even make some lasting friendships.

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Sabrina is pursuing her second year as a News Editor here at the Gazette. She is a fourth year International Relations student at Western University.

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