Some interesting ways to spice up your fitness regimen

VICTORIA (CUP) – Research papers, presentations, and exams are just a few of the many challenges students encounter through the school year. They can all cause students to experience high levels of stress – to put it mildly.

A little stress is okay, as it can boost the adrenaline; too much can be detrimental to a person’s health.

Exercise is an excellent option when trying to cope and improve academic performance. The key is to keep the exercise interesting.

So how do students stay fit and reduce tension without being confined to just lifting weights and running on a treadmill?

Here’s one option: finding instant gratification in hula hooping.

The hoop is a product from the 1950s but has returned to modern culture. Regardless of age, weight, or rhythmic ability, hula hooping is a convenient exercise that almost anyone can enjoy; it’s also an affordable piece of equipment that can meet a rigid student budget.

People come to hula hoops through all different avenues. Randi Obenauer is a hula-hooping regular who became inspired with the hoop after spending a summer in Squamish, B.C.

She met a group in Squamish who made heavy hoops for more extreme workouts and taught forms of dance while spinning a hula hoop. After just one lesson, Obenauer became hooked.

I now own three of their heavy hoops in three different sizes and, yes, I can spin all three at once,” says Obenauer.

Not only do hula hoops bring back fond childhood memories, they primarily target a person’s physical core, providing a cardio and strength workout through natural movements – so if students are feeling pent up in the classroom, and can pause for a brief break, they may find pleasure in devoting that time to having some fun inside the hoop rather than committing to long hours in a gym.

I hate going to a gym,” says Obenauer. “It’s the most unnatural environment and the last place I want to go to try to get healthy.”

Another great way to explore other forms of physical activity is by getting involved with local outdoors community groups.

The Moonlight Midnight Mystery Ride is a group of bicycle enthusiasts who ride together on the second Friday of every month in Victoria. The group of riders meet under the moonlight for a whimsical journey through the city streets.

Mystery Rides are definitely the coolest way to stay in shape,” says David Griffin Brown, a University of Victoria student and Mystery Ride participant. “It's a great group of people, and I have many new friends as a result of going. We continue this pattern of riding and stopping several times, and often I don't get home until 3 or 4 a.m.”

Being a part of groups like this can make for a great way to meet new faces, test a person’s endurance level, and enjoy relaxed-paced exercise at the end of a consuming week of tests, assignments, and everything else that comes along with being a full-time student.

Although the importance of physical exertion is nothing new, a variety of exercise is sometimes needed to maintain motivation. Students who set aside some time for exercise may feel more confident with their studies and gain a better sense of control over their hectic agendas.

Other alt-exercise options

Here are some more alternative ways to exercise.


Exercising in a tranquil water environment gives people a chance to forget about their stress while providing a great cardiovascular workout.

Martial arts

Learning a martial art, like taekwondo, that places great emphasis on high standing and jump-kicking techniques is sure to get the adrenaline pumping and sweat dripping. This is also beneficial for those who want to learn more about self-defence.

Nintendo Wii

While some may be skeptical about the benefits of staring at a TV screen and using a video game for fitness, games such as Wii Fit can encourage people to increase their activity level. Simulated Wii activities ranging from boxing, baseball, tennis, and balancing games are engaging ways to get off the couch and take part in the action.

Pole dancing

Pole dancing may be a great option for physical activity and has become very popular with women. Pole dancing may bring to mind a group of showgirls performing at a strip club in Las Vegas; however, the dance is hard work and requires gymnastic and ballet movements around the pole.


Dodgeball organizations have become increasing popular, providing unique benefits in cardio and strength, while also improving hand-eye coordination.

//Emily Laing
Nexus (Camosun College)

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