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Fall Back Into Shape

September 22nd marked the first day of fall. Flip-flops, sundresses, tank tops and shorts are begrudgingly finding a place of hibernation for the wintry months. The freedoms of summer and the long warm days are fading away. School is in full gear, with its incessant activities and obligations, and unless you are a circus main act, it’s already becoming a challenge to juggle between friends, events, clubs, work, essays, and exams whilst achieving balance in your life. It`s no surprise those countless commitments are bound to jeopardize the healthy lifestyle you had worked so hard to maintain all summer, not to mention your sleep.

But with the dawn of a new season, renovate yourself! Why should one wait until the New Year to make resolutions? I will admit, champagne does help, but it’s never too soon to make adjustments or revisit the priorities in our lives and a new season offers the perfect setting. Stimulate your senses. Sweat. Eat well. Have fun!

Take Advantage of the Outdoors

Squeeze in as much of the outdoors while you can. Soon enough, when temperatures drop below zero and turfs begin to hide under blankets of snow, the open air will be less accessible. Have your body fuel on the recommended weekly amount of vitamin D by exposing your face and arms to the sun for five to ten minutes, three times a week. Your body generates the production of vitamin D on its own just by exposing your skin to the sun’s UV rays. With that in mind, take a healthy break from your obligations and go biking or rollerblading. Many venues throughout the city offer bike rentals. Challenge your body with a brisk run in the cool air. Explore, and remember to drink plenty of water.

Being in the National Capital Region, you are steps away from prime locations! Ottawa’s attractions and landscapes are framed with vibrant colors and fiery sceneries. Gatineau Park, the region’s largest conservation park, is just 15 minutes away. Benefit from over 90 km of nature trails, forests and lookouts the park has to offer. Pack a lunch, even some of your readings to appease your guilt and bring a camera if you can! You will surely be amazed by the foliage, and you are bound to encounter many of the hundreds of species of birds and mammals that inhabit the park’s diverse ecosystem.

For the more local explorer, Ottawa is a bed of 180 km of recreational pathways that cross the city from the downtown core to the east and west, on both sides of the river! Drop by the capital info centre in the World Exchange plaza at the Metcalfe and Queen Street intersection to get your free copy of the pathway map or download it online. Every week, choose a different route and explore various corners of the city.

Plan Ahead

Start your semester on the right foot, be on top of things and stay in shape while maintaining your daily tasks. Just like you would schedule time for your assignments, establish a weekly timetable for your exercise. Make an appointment to take care of your body and commit to it. If something comes up, reschedule, just like you would any other rendezvous. When you choose to have the discipline to make exercise a part of your daily lifestyle, it becomes a natural habit. Try incorporating excercise while catching up on favourite shows  such as Intervention or How I Met Your Mother with the activity of your choice or use the commercials to your advantage. Take your skipping rope out for a spin, do pushups, sit-ups, whatever you want. Alternatively, if you know you really won’t have time to exercise on a given day, try walking everywhere or take the stairs. Climbing your way up the stairs to the 6th floor of the Morriset library will definitely get your heart going.

Additionally, set goals. Take a moment to introspect. What would you like to accomplish this week? What about on the long term? Maybe you want to sign up for the half marathon at Ottawa Race Weekend next May? You can start training for that now! Think of specific steps you will undertake to develop your fitness goals and get going.

It’s Harvest Season

While investing much time and energy in maintaining an active lifestyle is half the work, paying attention to what you are consuming is the other half. Too often, financial constraints prevent students from investing in fresh nutritious options. Thankfully, fall is also harvest season which means an abundance of fresh and local produce filled with vitamins and antioxidants are available for you to pruchase at reasonable prices. Think eggplants, pumpkins, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, sweet potatoes, winter squash, broccoli, grapes pomegranates, cranberries, apples… Take a walk down to the Byward market and stock up! You can even make an outing of it and go pick your own apples. Thanks to the U-pass, orchards like Orleans Fruit Farm are accessible by public transportation.

This fall make it a point to always be in a state of well-being and radiate with new found self-confidence. When you feel good, you have the confidence to achieve anything. Not only will it enhance your overall productivity, it will be reflected in all areas of your life. And who knows? Maybe with your acquired strength you’ll dare to try something that scares you this winter… Spinning class? Yoga? Aqua fitness? Who needs hibernation? Bring on winter!


Picture Credits:

Photographer of path and leaf: Christelle P. Cleroux
Fruits: http://greatlengthshairgallery.blogspot.ca

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