Jamieson Wang, Howl Staff
Right now you’re probably busy studying while your social life is violently being town away, but all that stress has a simple solution: exercise. While it may sound like a waste considering how little spare time you already have, trust me – not only does going to the gym a few times a week help to reduce stress, but it may help force you to manage your time better. Knowing that you intend to commit that one hour at the gym can motivate you to use all your other time more wisely. Besides that, various studies have even claimed that since exercise increases the blood flow it results in enhanced cognition. As U of T students we have access to the facilities at both the Athletic Center and Hart House. For those less self-motivated, Drop-In Classes are a great option. Here are my thoughts on some that I have attended:
Description: A combination of cardio choreography with a raised platform for a more intense dance-style work out. At Hart House, there is at least one Step class every day of the week. At later hours this class tends to be very popular, so I suggest you get there early to snag a spot on the floor. The atmosphere is highly motivational and I find myself striving to work harder. There are also various Step classes throughout the week at the Athletic Center.
Description: A kind of technical yoga set to work specifically on flexibility and mobility. Less of a work out and more of a cool down class. I find it extremely relaxing and a great way to spend an hour. People really underestimate the benefits of stretching; as a university student who spends far too much time sitting hunched over my desk, this class is becoming a weekly necessity.
Description: A muscle conditioning workout that combines aerobics and basic martial arts; this is one of my favorites for releasing stress. Let go, let loose and punch wildly at the air in front of you. This class has a great motivational instructor. The benefit you get is entirely proportional to the effort you put in. Unfortunately this class only happens once a week at Hart House.
Description: A referring to abs, B to butts, and T to thighs. It is held at Hart House, once a week on Saturday afternoons. WARNING: This is a high intensity work out that forces you to use muscles that don’t usually get any attention. There are always different level options provided though, so go only as far as you’re willing to. If you only have a few hours per week to spare, spend one in this class and it’ll feel like you’ve worked out every day.
Description: A combination of high energy dance routines ranging from Jazz to Latin. Always serves to be rather entertaining and actually quite uplifting. A great opportunity to dance your troubles away. While the choreography may be somewhat hard to follow at times, the intensity is rather low. Classes usually have a great group atmosphere to help with motivation.
Description: Various yoga classes are available at both Hart House and the AC. My favorite is on Wednesday evenings at the AC Field House: it covers the fundamentals of Yoga, focusing on building strength and flexibility. This class is particularly enjoyable because it is relaxing yet difficult enough that I have to put in some effort. For those who enjoy yoga for the workout rather than the meditation or spiritual aspects, I highly recommend this class.
Besides these there are a ton of other classes covering a wide range of interests, so check out the Hart House and Athletic Centre schedules, pick a class and GO! Your mind and body will thank you. Eventually.