Healthier body, healthier mind

Despite the unfavourable weather, students have ample opportunity to stay in shape this winter

Philip Ballyk, Comm ’12, says students can benefit from exercise because it leads to a healthier body, increased energy and reduced stress levels.
Philip Ballyk, Comm ’12, says students can benefit from exercise because it leads to a healthier body, increased energy and reduced stress levels.

With the temperature below zero and heavy snow falls on the way, it’s tempting to hibernate through the winter and many students choose to abandon their exercise routines in favour of staying warm.

“It’s just too cold,” said Rashed Al-Haque, ArtSci ’10. “Winter is such a hectic time period academically. Your priorities shift and you’d rather spend more time studying than exercising.” Al-Haque said he finds it difficult to work exercise into his weekly routine during the winter. He said many students lack the motivation to exercise and keep active when the weather turns cold and dark.

“Running is my preferred form of exercise,” he said. “But it becomes too hazardous to run in the winter.”

To avoid this problem, Philip Ballyk, Comm ’12, said working out with a buddy helps motivate him to stay on his five times per week gym workout routine.

“It makes it a more social activity,” he said. “I also really enjoy playing for my intramural hockey team, which is a great arobic exercise and a lot of fun as well.”

In terms of making fitness a priority during the school year, Ballyk said it’s important to balance having both an active mind and body.

“It supports overall happiness and well-being, which actually helps my focus on school work,” he said. Ballyk said exercise not only leads to a healthier body but also increased energy levels and reduced stress levels, something all students can benefit from during the winter.

In an e-mail to the Journal, Rodney Wilson, the strength and conditioning coach and exercise co-ordinator at the Physical Education Centre, said there are several easy and creative ways to work exercise into your routine.

Wilson suggested students try and be outside as often as possible.

“Adding a few blocks to your walk every day, shoveling the driveway, hitting the local rink are all fantastic ways to add activity to your life,” he said. “The key to success is to plan workouts in your week.”

Students should try to allot time for themselves into their schedule, Wilson said.

“At home, a brisk 20 to 30 minute walk or jog followed by some free body weight squats, pushups and front and side planks would be very beneficial,” he said.

Wilson said it’s important to make sure that once you miss a workout, you make up for it as soon as possible to keep the ball rolling.

To combat the boredom of going to the gym, Wilson suggested joining an intramural sport. Winter intramurals include hockey, co-ed volleyball, basketball, curling, inner tube water polo and indoor soccer.

The PEC is a great resource for students, Wilson said. Yoga, fitness and other instructional classes are offered, as well as the services of personal trainers. For students who are looking for cost-free options, the gym is available to all full-time students and there are free fitness classes throughout the week.

Although the PEC offers many resources such as intramural sports, fitness classes and personal trainers, Wilson said students shouldn’t be afraid to brave the outdoors.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes,” he said. “Successful winter clothing is all about layering. On top start with a long sleeve base of quick dry material, followed by a light, medium-weight fleece. Depending on the weather, that may be enough, but when it’s colder, a windproof jacket on top of the fleece should do it,” he said.

Other important items include a toque, vest and a pair of gloves to keep in lots of heat, Wilson said.

“An easy rule for outdoor running in winter is that if you feel a bit cold when you step out of the house, you are dressed perfectly,” he said. “If you are hot before you start, you will sweat and then get cold.”

Wilson said it’s important for students to pay attention to weather conditions before they start running.

“If you have scheduled a walk or run but there is freezing rain or minus 30 weather, leave it for another day,” he said. “In light snow or moderately cool temperatures, you can run or walk without problems, just pay attention to your footing and you should be fine.”

To ensure you don’t lose your footing while out on a run, Wilson said students can wear running shoes, trail runners or ice cleats.

“You can even look up how to put screws in your shoes for grip,” he said. “It works if you do it properly.”

Wilson said, depending on the weather, a walk or run can be intense and short or easy and long.

“Speeding along on Kingston sidewalks in six inches of snow, just so you can work harder, may not be the safest idea,” he said. “With the goal of overall health and fitness in mind, you should remember that just getting out the door is a success. Leave for your run with the mindset that you can change the route, the duration or the intensity on the ‘fly.’”

Stay fit and have fun this winter

•Outdoor skating at Victoria Park: 4.p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday. 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday to Sunday. For more information call 613-542-0462.

•Indoor skating at the Memorial Centre: 303 York St., Sundays. 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. For more information call 613 546-3183.

•Recreational swimming at the PEC. Lanes available for all different speeds of swimmers. Check out
for the schedule.

•Group fitness classes available at the PEC throughout the week for $8 per drop-in class. Pick up the schedule at the PEC.

•Samatva Yoga Studio: 397 Princess Street. For more information call 613 384-6463.

•Path Yoga: 336 Barrie Street. For more information call
613 328-5856.

•The Boiler Room Climbing Gym: 4 Cataraqui St.,
Suite #103. For more information call 613-549-0520.

•Goodlife Fitness Club: 64 Barrack Street. For more information call 613-547-3220.

—Carolyn Flanagan

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