Being Active on a Budget

Midterm season is in full bloom, and while grades may be dropping at the rate the leaves are falling out there, it’s also the time of the year when everybody seems to be dropping off the fitness bandwagon.

I get it — school is stressful, and not only do you have school on your plate, but you have to be an adult too! There are lots of barriers to staying active throughout the school year, and if you don’t know the tricks, cost can be one of them. I mean, what student can afford a $700 annual climbing gym membership, or a $1300 annual spin membership?! Luckily, I have posted some hacks that can help you stay active all year long for a low cost.

1. $2 Late Night Swims

Crystal Pool

Did you know that students swim for free at McKinnon Pool on campus? If this location is not ideal for you, check out the rec centre closest to you. Most have a student rate of under $5 with a valid student ID, and some – like Crystal Pool – have a super-affordable adult late night swim option (9/9:30-11:00pm) for only $2.

2. Get Active Outside, All Year Long

My favourite running spot: Willows Beach always lowers my stress levels

Coming from Edmonton, AB, where I would stand at the bus stop in -40 waiting to get to school in the winter, Victoria is basically a tropical oasis. One of the many amazing perks of this place is that you can run outside all year — without the risk of slipping on ice and snow! Or getting hypothermia! Whoo! Rain getting you down? If I’m not sick, I often find a run in the rain is very refreshing. Layer up, keep those ears warm, and carry on. Bonus: this costs approximately $0.

If you’re not much of a ‘runner,’ other outdoor exercise options include: hiking, DIY playground bootcamp, running stairs, rock climbing, or outdoor yoga.

3. $5 Community Yoga

Yoga has got to be one of the most least affordable recreation options out there — it’s hard to justify $20 for a one hour class. To help people out with this, some of the fanciest (and nicest) yoga studios in Victoria offer community classes once a week. My roommates and I make a habit of going to the Wednesday night class at One Yoga every week. This is a top-quality class for only $5, and I always feel awesome afterwards. Check out different yoga studios to find a community class that fits with your schedule!

4. Volunteer in Exchange for Memberships

Lots of fitness places realize that they are expensive for certain demographics, and aim to resolve that through “karma” programs. For example, you can volunteer at One Yoga for four hours each week in exchange for unlimited yoga. At the Boulders Climbing Gym out in Saanich, you can volunteer coaching or belaying hours in exchange for a membership. If you have a few spare hours every week, these are great options that are certainly worth inquiring about at your local gyms!

5. $10 Drop In Spin Class

Spinco Victoria offers a $10 “Spin it Forward,” class weekly, and the money goes to charity (this is much cheaper than the regular $20 drop in!). If you’re a student without a Vikes Fit Plus or All In CARSA membership, you can also drop into all CARSA spin classes for $10.

6. The Cheapest Gym Pass

I did some research for you guys. As it turns out, UVic actually offers one of the cheapest options for a basic four month gym pass — at $104 if you’ve paid your athletic fee. Most other gyms sit at $120 for 4 months (YMCA) or $400 for the year (Oak Bay Rec). Opting for the 12 month pass over the 8 month is also a much better deal — the 12 month is only $28 more.

7. Do it at Home

If the rain really has got you down, have no fear, you can do it at home! I have been known to use my yoga mat and textbooks (?!) for weights if need be. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

If you don’t have experience making your own workouts, there are tons of apps like the Nike App that allow you to find a workout that fits your goals.

There are also lots of fitness YouTube channels that post workouts online, though be cautious here, you want to make sure the trainer is a certified personal trainer.

8. $5 Climbing Courses

This year at the CARSA climbing wall we’ve introduced a new membership – the Climb Plus membership! $60/semester guarantees you full access to all of our courses: Rise and Climb, Technique Time, Training Sessions and the course I run, Ladies Night, for the whole semester. Alternatively, you can pay $5 and drop in for a one time fee. (Note you still have to pay for your CARSA day pass if you are not a member).

That’s all I’ve got for you for today, Vikes — just a friendly reminder that being active doesn’t have to be expensive! And don’t forget, too, that taking a break and getting some exercise can actually help you do better in school — and help a whole lot with those stress levels ! Happy midterm season everyone!

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