Sunday, October 17th, 2010

The Student’s Guide to Staying Fit

Student Guide to Fitness

It's important to stay fit during the school year.

The majority of my youth was spent with a ball or stick in my hands, re-enacting the exploits of my favourite athletes. I was Daniel Alfredsson manning the point on a power play, Steve Nash orchestrating a fast break, Carlos Delgado pounding ball after ball into the right-field bleachers. Watching their heroics every night in primetime instilled an enduring love of sport that has remained with me to this day… not to mention the scores of championship rings in my imaginary trophy case.

Sadly, I was blessed with neither height nor great athletic ability, erasing any prospect of a career as a professional athlete. But, a childhood spent playing recreational sports helped me maintain a remarkable fitness level throughout the years. While professional athletes get to work out every day for a living, a few hours of exercise a week should suffice for the rest of us.

In addition to joining an organized league, here are four more tips on keeping fit during the school year:

1. Make your lunch productive

To escape the tedium of your dull lunch break, head to the gym a couple of times a week or join in on a pickup game. This is a fantastic way to keep your skills sharp, try something new, or simply divert your attention from the steaming batch of french fries in the cafeteria.

2. Take the initiative

Even if your school doesn’t have intramural sports, it probably has a parking lot. So pulling some bodies together for ball hockey twice a week shouldn’t be hard.

If there are no organized leagues in your community, or you find that school sports are either too serious or not serious enough for your liking, you can get the ball rolling (so to speak). Round up a group of friends for an impromptu soccer game in the park. Beyond the thrill of the competition, playing outside is undoubtedly a much healthier option than another round of Call of Duty.

3. Hit the gym

Whether your focus is building muscle or burning off the calories from your last Smokehouse Deluxe burger, working out can be beneficial for everyone. Consider getting a membership at a local gym. If that isn’t an option, a steady routine of push-ups and crunches is a very practical alternative. Keep your priorities straight – make note of your school and work schedules and try to pencil in a few hours each week to work out.

4. Run

You don’t need state-of-the-art equipment – just a long stretch of road and a pair of sneakers without holes. If you don’t love running, your iPod will make things a lot easier. Set your alarm early and hit the trails as the sun is rising – you’ll take a breath of the crisp morning air and know that you don’t have a care in the world. Elite athlete or not, running is the first and simplest step to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Nick Faris
Author: Nick Faris
Nick currently works as an intern at Ottawa Life Magazine. After completing university, Nick hopes to pursue his dream of working in sports, either in the media or for a professional team.
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