Recreational on-campus activities to keep students in shape


The University of Waterloo has been seeing a gradual return to campus, and with it, comes the reintroduction of recreational activities. While students are gearing up for their final exams and buckling down to study, it’s important that they make time forbreaks and participate in some physical activity. 

Engaging in physical activity holds benefits that extend beyond improving health and reducing stress levels. A 2017 Stanford study found that students that engaged in on-campus recreational sports and exercise performed better academically on average than their non-participating peers. As per the researchers, “Our findings suggest that students spend more time on campus and are better able to integrate studying and exercising, which may enhance the effectiveness of studying and thus improve student performance.”  

 The majority of on-campus recreational activities can be accessed through UW’s Athletics Membership. Free of charge for students currently enrolled in classes, membership can be obtained on the Athletics Portal. The membership provides students with access to a variety of amenities ranging from various aquatic activities like free lane swimming, to sports such as basketball. However, some of these activities may be subject to reservations and occupancy limits as per the university’s COVID-19 guidelines.

UW also offers a multitude of smaller athletics passes pertaining to specific activities. These include the opportunity to try out the Student Life Centre’s new, state-of-the-art climbing wall with the Rock-Climbing Membership. For $30 per term, students have access to 90-minute daily sessions. Alternatively, they can pay $37.50 for the term which includes a shoe rental service. Other exciting passes include the Fitness Class Membership, which allows access to any fitness class on the Waterloo Recreation schedule — examples include yoga, Zumba and even barre lessons for students.  

The most popular option for recreational activities on campus remains Waterloo’s Open Rec facilities. Free of cost and open to all students with a Waterloo Athletics Membership, the facilities include the Physical Activities Complex (PAC) and Columbia Icefield (CIF) fitness centres for cardio and strength training as well as a host of different fields and courts pertaining to the sport of choice. Students can check timings for basketball, ice skating, volleyball and indoor fields at both PAC and CIF on the Athletics Portal. With no capacity limits as of Oct. 25, students are able to get back into the swing of physical activity indoors as the colder weather sets in.  

With the final stretch of the semester looming ahead, students can take advantage of decreased pandemic restrictions and the campus’ wide range of athletics offerings to boost their mental health right before the dreaded exam season arrives. Details about Waterloo’s Athletics Memberships, the activities available and where to sign up for the few athletics that still require reservations can be found on the university’s Athletics Portal.