Recreating Recess: Night Walking around UBC

Remember those days in grade school where you anxiously waited for the bell to ring so you could go outside for recess and play with your friends? Well, if you are like me, those days were some of the highlights of early education and remain as fond memories.

Recess is a break from work or school in favour of spending time mindlessly engaged in a task. While it can appear difficult to fit in time to play with coursework, this column is intended to provide people with a bi-weekly challenge to get outside, if only for ten minutes.

Simply put, the goal of this column is to bring back recess. To start off, the first challenge is taking a night walk.

When I was in high school, my parents would always go for a walk around our neighbourhood. At the time, this habit seemed mundane, and since projects needed to be completed or Canucks games were to be watched, I usually stayed home.

Then during my first year of university in Kelowna, a period with more free time and many stressors, I unintentionally started to take more walks. At first, it was walks to explore the campus then walks on some nearby trails.

Walking is not a physical activity that requires intense exertion. Yet the fact that it is still a form of exercise should not be discounted because walking does have certain health benefits. Compared to running, it is less taxing on the body, and small walks can also help compensate for spending extended periods of time sitting at a desk.

Yet walking can also replace activities that can lead to stress. For instance, getting outside for a walk can prevent you from ruminating in your dorm about the assignments needed to be completed and events of the day, something that many university students, myself included, are prone to do.

However, finding the time to go for a walk remains an issue for students, which is why I started taking walks at night, a great time to explore places on and off campus.

A good place to start is the Point Grey neighbourhood, a place slightly off campus with lots of beautifully designed houses. There you can admire the Halloween decorations during the fall and Christmas lights during the winter, and in certain areas you are awarded a view of North Vancouver, a city turned glowing silhouette of light once the sun has set.

Another place to walk at night is down main mall. Main mall may be a circus of activity during the day but come night it conveys a sense of calm as you walk down the strip. Stopping at the Rose garden allows you to see the outlines of dark mountains sandwiched between the lights of the last ferries out of Horseshoe Bay and stars in the sky.

One recommendation for walking outside at night is keeping your electronics on silent. You have probably heard that checking social media before going to bed can be detrimental to your sleep, but from personal experience listening to music during a walk makes it harder to fall asleep too.

Ultimately, night walks either on campus or around your neighbourhood are definitely worth your time because there are easy to do, and can last for however long you want, including for a lifetime.