Hi everyone! I hope you’re reading this on a beautiful sunny day. Victoria has relatively mild winters but somedays, when I haven’t seen the sun in what feels like weeks and my feet are wet from the rain it can be hard to find to motivation to do anything, especially exercise.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is described by the Mayo Clinic as “a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons.” It can drain you of energy and motivation and disrupts your sleep pattern which can impact all aspects of your life. While the Mayo Clinic states SAD symptoms will typically fade with the changing of the seasons it is never a bad idea to take control of your routine and do what makes you happy, for me that’s exercise and being outside. However, if you do not notice a change in your mood I encourage you to seek help through the UVic Counselling services.

One of the best ways to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder is exercise, with benefits that neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki breaks down here! Among the benefits she has discovered is that exercise has an instant effect on your brain and releases mood-boosting chemicals. You will notice improved energy, mood, attention and memory. With the weather getting warmer and the Blue and Gold Blitz on March 28th, it seems like a good time to get outside and start enjoying all the UVic campus and surrounding area has to offer!

The Chip Trail

The Chip Trail is an awesome way to sneak in some exercise if you have a break on campus or want to go for a walk/run before or after class! In total it is a little less than 3 km. Check out UVic Jogging trail map for more run inspo!

Mount Doug Hike

Mount Doug is a beautiful area close to UVic that makes you feel like you’ve left the city! It has a beautiful view of Victoria and the ocean from the top and with so many trails you can easily choose how difficult you want your hike to be. It is a great place for people of any fitness level or those just looking for a nice picnic spot. The #12 or #39 bus will take you there directly from UVic!

CARSA and McKinnon Pool

We have an incredible gym on campus that offers rock climbing, drop in play, and a ton of classes to help you get motivated and involved in a community of students! The classes offered change throughout the year but you can find an updated class schedule here!  McKinnon Pool also has awesome drop-in times making it easy to fit in a swim no matter how busy your day is. Saving the best part for last: the pool of free for students!

Some days, hopping into the pool is the only way for me to refocus and shake off whatever is holding me down. If you feel like you need some guidance before you jump in check out Active. They offer great workouts and tips for becoming a better swimmer. If you struggle with a stroke don’t worry, you can substitute one you are more comfortable with!

Whether it’s running, hiking, swimming, exploring the beaches around campus or taking a class your body and mind will thank you. The weather is getting warmer but we still need to take care of our bodies and get them moving. I hope these suggestions help you discover the beauty that surrounds us at UVic and encourages you to try something out of your comfort zone. What are your favorite ways to enjoy nature and stay fit as a student or a member of our community? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading,