A picture list of complex carbs (sweet potato, whole grain bread, oats) and simple carbs (soda, donuts, white bread, cereal) is shown.

The not-so-sweet truth about sugar: Healthy habits at Hart House

This week, I dropped into the Healthy Habits program that runs every Monday in the Hart House Reading Room from 12 to 1 p.m. Healthy Habits is a laid-back discussion about nutrition and tips for eating well and is led by a holistic nutritionist.

What I really liked about the event was that it was informal and thereby unintimidating. We all sat in the corner of the Reading Room on the couches and, in essence, had a chat. The topic varies week to week and you’re welcome to attend just one session or as many as you like, whenever you can. This past Monday, we talked about sugar – very timely if you ask me, given that Monday was also Halloween.

The word "sugar" is spelled out using table sugar.
Source: healthbubbles.com

How do they do it? Juggling academics and athletics

As a campus tour guide, I receive a lot of questions surrounding student life and whether a school-life balance is something one can expect to manage at the renowned U of T.

Seeing everyone’s defeated, exhausted expressions on campus, I thought it’d be a good time to share some of my tips and tricks of the trade that have helped me to juggle three jobs, three sports and a full-time course load.

A drawing of a woman with many outstretched hands to juggle different life responsibilities.
Disclaimer: I don’t usually look quite so glamorous while doing it.
Source: yummymummyfitness.com.au

1. Sometimes you need to downsize. Sure, juggling five balls looks really cool but if you’re exhausted and you’re about to see them all fall to the floor, consider whether you might be able to take one out of the equation. I know it’s hard, we’re very ambitious students and we prefer to be able to persevere and to succeed without giving anything up, but I encourage everyone to critically evaluate whether the cost is worth what you’re gaining.

Take an active break! : A small gym exercise routine

October is a terrifying time of year – and that has nothing to do with Halloween. I have never before been so overwhelmed with things that need doing/studying/writing. But we’ll get through this… right?

I’m kidding of course, we always do and we will again – that thought has always been helpful to me when I’m swamped and feeling hopeless.

When there’s so much to be done, it can be hard to squeeze in some physical activity. As many of us live in residences and apartment buildings with small exercise rooms, I thought I’d put together a simple small gym study break as a perfect addition to my self-care routine!

Try 1-3 sets of 10 repetitions of each of the following exercises for a fast, full body workout between textbooks!

Annette is shown in 3 stages of a pushup.

Finding Fitness at U of T (Without Joining a Single Organized Sport)

When I entered university, I was determined to take advantage of all the physical fitness resources available and undo the drastic drop in athleticism that had occurred during my teenage years. In grade six, I had found joy in doing laps at the U of T Athletic Centre pool every weekend. However, when puberty hit, and sports teams became increasingly ‘exclusive’, I grew self-conscious and made every effort to skip out on gym. Throughout high school, I only voluntarily participated in two sports: fencing (a one week long U of T summer camp) and archery.

Girl practicing archery

Skating Level I at Varsity Centre

Last week, I started my skating class at Varsity Centre. I LOVED it.

In addition to registering for the class, I registered to rent skate – which I’ll have access to every week for the hour I spend in class. I haven’t put on a pair of my own skates in a long time, so I imagined any pair I could dig up at home would be four sizes too small. I really appreciate the option to rent because not only is it inexpensive ($20 for the duration of the class) but it also means I’m not lugging skates to and from campus on top of my course materials.

When I got to Varsity Centre, I swiped my TCard and made my way to the arena (a familiar route, having attended a couple of MoveU skating events there already).

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This is the entrance to Varsity Centre where you swipe your T-Card.

It wasn’t long before I ran into my coach, whom I identified right away (she was wearing a big headband with the word “SKATE” across the front so… lucky guess). Shannon later explained that what she was wearing was a concussion headband with significant padding to protect her head. “Cool!” I thought.

Getting in the door: Overcoming barriers to participation in physical activity

I’ve realized I’ve done you all a great disservice by not expanding the perspective from which I write. I’ve recently come to appreciate just how easy it may be for me to engage in physical activity on campus compared to some of my peers. So this year, I vow to do my best to step out of my shoes and into some of yours.

To start, I asked what prevents students from participating. With help from my peers and the people of Reddit, I’ve become aware of a few big hurdles…

Nobody likes to be the new kid. Being new at the gym can be incredibly unnerving. I can totally understand that. Gym culture these days is hard to avoid and it seems to be growing increasingly garish.

White and grey text on a black background reads "Set some goals, then demolish them."
The community can be a little intense sometimes.
Source: goodmorningquote.com

Beating School Stress this Week…Kapow!

For those of you taking Summer courses, you know ALL TOO WELL how quickly the course materials go by and before you know it finals are here (…then again, it feels like that during the Fall/Winter courses but y’all know what I mean!). One of my favourite things to do on-campus is to hit the gym, stressed or not.

Drop-In Skating and Exam Prep (Already?!)

I’ve been feeling a little-more-than-a-little subpar recently. I’m not sure if it’s the weather or a change in routine due to injury or just everyday stressors, but I don’t like to hang out in ruts like that. Last Friday served as a nice little pick me up, thankfully. I finally made it out to drop-in skating at the Varsity Centre!

I regret that I didn’t take pictures, I was consumed by how good it felt to be using my legs after making my arms so terribly sore at aerial silks. I’ve been less active recently and I think that might be contributing to my lousy mood. Skating with a good friend helped! I went on Friday from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon and it served as a nice study break. Skate rentals are available for only $3.39 (debit/credit only) and entry is free with your T-Card of course! It wasn’t very populated, which I really appreciated. I definitely recommend checking it out, especially if you’re looking for some space to make some mistakes (I sure am!).

Source: www.macedoecunha.com.br
Source: www.macedoecunha.com.br

It’s Not All Sunshine and Rainbows: How to Prevent and How to Care for Injuries

The human body is a remarkable construction. It’s strong, powerful, capable and — unless you’re me — resilient more often than not. With all this talk of being physically active and trying new things, I thought it was time for a post addressing risk, how to minimize it and what happens when despite your best efforts you find yourself injured.

While I’m not a doctor [insert moment of silence here], I feel I have sufficient experience to speak about this subject. I have the joints of someone far, far older than twenty paired with a “can’t stop won’t stop” approach to life. That combination isn’t particularly risk-reducing.

So, here are 4 tips to risk reduction in sport — coming from someone who needs all the reduction she can get.

Feature: MoveU Crew!

This week I thought I’d shed some light on how to get involved with physical activity on campus in an administrative role. I met with the MoveU team to talk about what they do, how they got involved and what they love about being a part of the team.

But first: What is MoveU and what does the team do? Well, in their words they “do so much!”

“The breadth of what we do is so broad because we promote health on campus and being physically active,” says Alcina Wey. Fellow work-study student, Naomi Maldonado, adds, “We try to promote physical activity in alternative ways. A lot of people assume that if you’re not working out you’re not active, but we try to make physical activity accessible.”

As volunteers, the MoveU Crew supports and leads events. They interact with students, make them feel comfortable and get them involved at events.