Find Your Balance with Healthy, Active Living at U/D

July 14, 2020 by University District

Explore New Fitness Activities to Get Your Heart Pumping


Times are changing as we’re more motivated to create home gyms, explore the outdoors, and find new fitness routines to stay healthy and active at a distance. If you’re an avid gym-goer, a barre and yoga lover, or just getting into fitness, there’s a range of options to suit your lifestyle and level or comfort.



The sky’s the limit to meet these new or changing fitness goals and we have some fun options to help ease that transition. It’s time to get your sweat on, learn some new skills and focus on your wellbeing! A new kind of workout doesn’t require a lot of equipment, a strict routine or big investment.


From online classes in your living room to indoor golfing to bootcamp on your balcony or in the park, there are scores of new and interesting ways to mix up your workout routine, get healthy, and benefit from the results!


Tip: Did you know that there are free daily online yoga classes offered by Yoga in Bowness? And they are offering yoga classes in the riverside park, too?

Why Workout, You Wonder?


Balanced living means paying heed to fitness! Boost your spirits, lower your blood pressure, up your heart rate, drop on the scales! Whatever your motivation is, it can still be fun with a variety of fitness fixes that are handy in NW Calgary. We can dance, jump or golf our way into good health in small groups or solo!


Don’t let another day go by without fitness coming first! This is “your” time and there is no better day than today to put fitness first on your to-do list. We’ve included three fresh fitness ideas around U/D to help get you started.


One: Dance at U/D’s North Pond Amphitheatre


Let’s begin with one of the most inspiring sights we’ve seen in our community! Outdoor Zumba and barre classes are new to the NW and led by local Calgarian Monica Lopez of Monica Lopez Fitness!



First, a bit about Monica! Monica trained in jazz, Latin dance and ballet growing up in Mexico.⁣ She is a CanFitPro certified FIS (Fitness Instructor Specialist). She is also certified to teach SoulBody Barre™ and licensed to teach Zumba® and Zumba® Kids + Kids Jr.


“During these times of physical distancing, I realized as a group fitness instructor, I was going to lose my workspaces at studios and gyms. I decided to create an online community and teach free classes for people at home,” says Monica.


Quickly, a community grew and before long, I found out people were dancing as a family at home with kids, being active and feeling positive! What a great feeling to bring happiness from my living room to theirs through fitness.”



As the weather improved, Monica and her new online community sought to find a place to dance outdoors. One of her members who lives at U/D suggested it as the perfect venue. “University District was quick to welcome us and I have been teaching there every other week! It is perfect for Zumba because of the design of the amphitheatre where we dance.


And for barre classes, the handrails there are at the ideal height! Everyone can see me well and the fountain backdrop is so pretty! It feels like we are in Miami! This is especially true when we play our favourite dance track “Mamacita by the Black Eyed Peas!”


Get inspired: Check out the action at University District’s Zumba Beach Party. Be sure to like, follow and direct message Monica for opportunities to join in!



Thirty-five people are able to attend a class with no experience or age limits. Pre- registration and a signed waiver are required. No equipment is needed for the Zumba class. For barre classes, bring a yoga mat and some free weights (3 or 4 lbs as well as a small pilates ball if you have one!) Register via social media direct messaging on Instagram @monicalopez_fitness or via Facebook.


Two: Jump into Action!


Maybe dance isn’t quite your forte, or regular jumping jacks doesn’t pique your interest. There are other ways to get off the ground, get healthy, defy gravity and defy lethargy. Another of our favourite ways to work out in the NW takes little time, money or effort: jump rope!



Did you know there are new ways to skip? Shake off old habits and win the fitness game with a new-fangled jump rope and a motivational app. There are lots to choose from online with tips and tricks, goal setting, leader boards and more. Build endurance by keeping it simple – try a regular 60-second daily skip or challenge yourself to learn how to double under or criss-cross with a weighted rope or a speed rope.


Tip: Skipping rope indoors or outdoors, at home or while travelling gets great results and is so versatile! Give yourself lots of room and a soft surface to protect your joints.


One fun way to work jumping into your day is to do 50 jumps at the top of every hour throughout the day or every time you enter the kitchen for a homemade cookies like these


Three: Learn More New Tricks!


Step out of your comfort zone, and into a new sport. Get into the swing of things at the Calgary Golf Academy! A few hours with pros at the Calgary Golf Academy will have you ready for the course in no time. All ages and skill levels are welcome at Calgary Golf Academy, and they also have a ladies-only program.


Whether you’re receiving private, couple or group instruction, their unique approach to learning or re-learning the game of golf offers a relaxed, positive and less intimidating fitness experience! Located at the Riverside Club (Memorial Drive at Shaganappi Trail NW), this weather-friendly indoor facility is easily accessible from U/D.



More Ways to Work Out In NW YYC!


The summer is for the great outdoors. And our neighbours at the University of Calgary has some great suggestions from its outdoor homeschool program. Wherever you choose to take to the parks and play outside, there are plenty of options like Edworthy to Bowness, Nosehill and Many Owls Valley to Confederation Park. “Nature play” can get your heart pumping, once a day or once a week –– the benefits are endless.


The University team has shared an outdoor fitness gear “Essentials List” to keep you organized, safe and healthy while venturing out and about at U/D.


  • An exercise journal
  • A sport and wellness bag, pre-packed for motivation!
  • Weather and season-appropriate jackets to prevent excuses to venture out at any time
  • Active, comfortable footwear
  • Layers of athletic clothing (think breathable, insulated, climate control or sweat control clothing)
  • Sunscreen, a hat, and bug spray
  • A large water bottle and towel
  • Wellness supplies (sunscreen, bug spray, a mask, hand sanitizer etc.)


Most importantly when working out, remember your “why” and write down. It’s great to keep it nearby where you work out as a reminder to why you started this journey in the first place!



We partnered with The Brenda Strafford Foundation (behind U/D’s senior wellness development Cambridge Manor) for tips on functional fitness exercises and nutrition to help live life with increased energy and strength as we age. Have a look here for some of our suggestions to accommodate physical activity for every age. 


FINAL TIP: Savour the Stretch!


A morning stretch helps limber up for the day, offers a nice break mid-day, and provides a welcome wind down at night. What do you need? Sometimes a good 10-minute stretch in the park or quick yoga stretch session will help. If you’re looking to take it to the next level, check out stretch bands and a foam roller from Sporting Life in neighbouring CF Market Mall!


A great way to round out your workout and keep healthy is to meal prep! With our grocery partner Save-on-Foods ready to open in August 2020, U/D residents and neighbours will be able to tap into their fresh and healthy snacks, meals-to-go and healthy recipes. Plan for a restful Sunday to meal prep with their fresh recipe ideas at here.



How do you work out in healthy, fun ways that are new and provide balance through wellness in your life? Share them with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

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