Move Your Mind fitness program

Graphic by Sarah Morassutti

During the past year, fitness and health videos have become increasingly popular due to the recurring lockdowns and gym closures. Fitness transformations and home workouts are topping the charts on platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and more. 

With the amount of content currently being produced, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. It can feel especially isolating for beginners who are interested in getting fit but feel that they do not have the appropriate resources. Newcomers to the fitness world may be unsure about where to start their fitness journey, how to perform exercises correctly and how to eat healthily. For those who feel they need guidance to achieve their fitness goals, UW provides a great program called Move Your Mind. 

Move Your Mind was founded to provide students with equal opportunities for physical activity and help them take ownership of their fitness journeys. According to their mission statement on the UW website, “Move Your Mind aims to help students experience the physical, emotional, mental, and cognitive benefits of physical activity by helping to break down barriers preventing participation.” 

The program works by pairing every participant with a peer volunteer to encourage, motivate and hold the student accountable towards their fitness goals. This program can be extra beneficial to those who are new to Waterloo and are open to making new friends and finding workout buddies. Move Your Mind encourages a sense of community while also providing ongoing coaching and mentoring throughout the term. The program also offers virtual try-it sessions weekly for those not on campus as well as weekly shared resources such as recipes, coaching tips and at-home workouts. 

Move Your Mind is different from other wellness initiatives on campus because it’s tailored to fit the needs and goals of the student. “I think what makes Move Your Mind unique is just the way that we approach every student that might interact with us… no two students who come through the doors at Move Your Mind or PAC or CIF are [going to] be the same. So we always start from scratch,” said Kristen Leal, group fitness and instructional coordinator. 

The core of the Move Your Mind program relies on finding physical activities that the student enjoys so that their workout regime is sustainable. After all, a student is much more likely to continue a workout routine long-term if they enjoy it. While the program is mostly composed of students referred by school faculty, students can apply for the program directly by filling out the referral form on the UW website. Move Your Mind is open to all UW students and there is no cost to be involved in the program, however, certain fitness activities may have registration costs. 

If healthy living is already embedded in your lifestyle and you would like to encourage others to achieve the same, Move Your Mind is always looking for volunteers. Volunteers help participants in the program to try out new activities (instructional classes, clubs, intramurals), keep them motivated and help them reach their fitness goals. Volunteers are required to commit to a minimum of six hours per term. If interested, email

With Winter 2022 only beginning, it can be easy to get caught up in school work and forget about taking care of yourself. At the end of the day, it is never too late to start exercising and integrating physical activity into your lifestyle.