A lockdown guide to fitness for students


The recent COVID restrictions and gym closures have left students across the province searching for methods to stay fit. While UW has released a statement to resume in-person activities on Jan. 27, provincial guidelines will dictate any potential re-openings. In the meantime, here’s a list of ways to stay fit during the current lockdown: 

  1. Visit Local Parks 

On warmer days, exercising outdoors is a great way to stay fit and breathe fresh air. There are plenty of parks around Waterloo such as Waterloo Park, Clair Lake Park, Alexandra Park and more. Depending on the type of exercise you plan to do, little to no equipment is needed. Running is a common way many UW students stay fit. The only equipment required is yourself, a pair of running shoes and maybe some headphones. 

If running isn’t your jam, there are plenty of other exercises you can do outdoors such as jump rope, yoga, biking or simply walking around the area. “Waterloo is a pretty bikeable city. There are many bike lanes around the city and local trails. I would recommend biking to stay fit as it’s a great cardio workout but also good for the environment,” said Hamna Rashid, a first-year environmental engineering student. 

2. Go Outdoor Skating (open during lockdown) 

If you own a pair of ice skates, Waterloo Public Square offers free outdoor skating. Unfortunately, they do not provide rental skates at this time. However, you can find inexpensive ice skates at thrift stores or on Kijiji. The rink is open daily from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, weather dependent, and is located at 75 King Street South. Using Grand River Transit, Waterloo Public Square is less than a 10-minute bus ride from the University of Waterloo. 

Ice skating is an especially great option for students as admission is completely free and it is an amazing workout. Not only is ice skating good for cardio, but it is also easy on the joints and can improve balance and coordination. Please note, the rink is only open for recreational skating and no hockey pucks or hockey sticks are allowed on the ice. Masks are required and other COVID-19 regulations, such as capacity limits, are in place. 

3. Join UW’s FREE Online Fitness Classes + 12 Week Program.

UW currently offers many fitness classes online until January 27th, such as yoga, Zumba, spin, core/flexibility and a variety of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes. Access to these classes is dependent on registration through the UW Recreation website and is free of charge, as long as you are a UW student. 

These classes are often held live and are a great chance to meet like-minded students interested in getting fit. However, if you feel uncomfortable attending live sessions, recorded fitness workouts are also available. All live and archived sessions are held through UW Recreation’s Vimeo platform. 

If you do not know where to start when it comes to home-workouts, the school also offers a 12-week program home workout plan for the Winter 2022 term. This program includes progressive exercises for all levels with limited to no equipment needed. 

Regardless of where you are on your fitness journey, there are many cheap indoor/outdoor options in the Waterloo area. Fitness and health are excellent subjects for New Year’s resolutions and also important life-long commitments, so it’s important to find workouts you enjoy, even when things are more closed down.