I considered myself retired from any form of exercise in Year 9. Sure, I could watch sports, but doing it? Absolutely not, thank you. Unfortunately, noticing that the steps to my college library were getting increasingly taxing, I decided that, like Tom Brady, it was time for me to unretire. Exercise is great for your mental health, but it’s also a great distraction from the impending doom that is your essay’s reading list. Here are my recommendations for staying active while at Oxford.
Join a gym
While some might initially cringe at the thought of joining a gym, going to one is a great way to fit exercising around your own schedule. Joining one with my friend meant that I felt less gym anxiety when I started, because if I was clueless as to how an exercise machine worked, I could ask her to show me – and if she couldn’t it was fine, because at least I wasn’t confused on my own. The big gyms in Oxford are Buzz Gym and Pure Gym, of which I personally used the former. I found signing up and also cancelling at the end of the year more convenient, however its location in Westgate regretfully sponsored many impromptu Primark trips.
The typical response to the question of how to stay active in Oxford is to encourage students to engage in college sports. Most colleges encourage all their students to take part in some form. This is because you can do as much or as little as you like. You don’t need to be an elite competitor to be able to take part; all physical talent, or lack thereof, is encouraged to get involved. College sports are a great way to get to know people, and to attend socials and events. Colleges will usually offer sports such as rowing, football, rugby, and many more.
Book out college sports grounds
If you’re apprehensive about getting involved in college sports, that’s no reason not to capitalise on the wide range of sports grounds and equipment that your college provides. I did this through playing tennis with my friends occasionally on the sports grounds during Hilary term. We were dreadful at it, but it was still exercise. Many colleges will let you book out spaces on their college grounds, so if you want to take part in sports with your friends this is something to make use of.
Try something totally new
Don’t feel you have to limit yourself to college-level sports only, as there is such a wide range of university-wide sports that you can get involved in. University is a great time to introduce yourself to a sport that you may not have done before, especially with the weird and wonderful options that Oxford offers. Have you heard of Eton fives? Nor had I, but it’s offered in Oxford, so why not try it out? If you can stomach the walk and the early mornings, take up cheerleading and become an Oxford Siren. Feeling like Odell? American Football is an option here at Oxford. There is always something new and interesting available here.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a sporty person, don’t let that put you off staying fit. Being physically fit is so important for being mentally healthy in the challenging period that is the Oxford Academic year. A brisker walk to your lecture because you’ve slept in won’t do!
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