Among first-year students at UW, fear of the dreaded Freshman Fifteen is prominent, which is the belief that university students gain 15 pounds in their first year. As COVID-19 regulations prevent students from leaving their homes, worries of becoming unfit and unhealthy are skyrocketing here in Waterloo. However, there are a wide range of opportunities UW offers that allow students to avoid the Freshman Fifteen.
The solutions to remaining healthy are easy and clear – you just have to seek them out. First-year student Maddie Lanka remarks, “I was so happy when I realized that the UW fitness centre is open, so one of the things I’ve been doing to keep healthy is going there. It’s great for getting fit, and also beneficial for your mental health.” All you have to do is book an appointment a few days in advance on the UW Warriors website and voilà – you now have a free 45-minute gym session with all the equipment you could ask for. You can also book a lane in the pool for a nice swim, time with friends on a basketball or badminton court, or attend various classes, from High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to yoga. Just check out athletics.uwaterloo.ca and you’ll see that the possibilities for physical fitness are endless. “I have also been making efforts to eat better by keeping some healthy snacks in my room instead of chips and chocolate,” Maddie continues. “The combination of a better diet and frequent gym visits is definitely effective.”
If you don’t love the gym and prefer to exercise outdoors, you can also take a walk or hike while the weather is still nice. Bring some friends along and take a stroll through campus. Since classes are online, a walk is a wonderful way to explore UW and a nice break from doing work. What’s more, you can do some geese-watching while you’re out. Better yet, try a hike – Iron Horse Trail is a beautiful 5.5 km trail that lies conveniently close to campus, you can learn more about it over at ontariotrails.on.ca. You’ll be reaching your step count goal while enjoying the fresh all air.
Finally, let’s not forget there is still a virus going around, and preventing the spread of COVID-19 is essential. As fourth-year student Matthew Koristka suggests, “right now, wearing masks, social distancing from others, and frequently sanitizing your hands are the best ways to keep yourself and others healthy. Remember, you can still have a great time with friends when you’re six feet apart, and wearing a mask is just so easy and effective.”
It is so important to prioritize your health, and what better time to begin implementing these tips and tricks than at the beginning of a new school year? That way, when the cold weather hits, you can continue with this regimen to help beat the winter blues. Whether it’s swapping a burger for a salad, going for a run, or even just wearing a mask in public, perhaps taking the healthier route can actually make you a happier person. Let’s turn the Freshman Fifteen into the Freshman Fantastic.