5 Montrealer Fitness Habits
I have officially lived in Montreal for 5 months (wow time flies!) and while the city is located in North America, I have found that there are some big fitness differences compared to the rest of the continent. Similar to my 5 Fitness Habits I Learned In South America article, I decided to break down how Montrealers stay fit and active even during their frigid winter months!
1) Everyone Walks
Many people don’t realize it , but Montreal is an island. While many think of islands being tropical, Montreal is more of the frigid kind. Regardless, there is only so much room for people, space, and cars on an island. Therefore, many people have to take public transportation (STM, Société De Transport De Montréal). The city is quite dense, but many people have to walk to and from the metro or take the bus. This means that the city has a lot of energy, as many people are outside walking around. This is something that is rare in North America as many cities are designed for cars, not people. Montreal is very accessible by public transportation and being active is actually apart of STM’s marketing pitch.
2) Nature is Never Too Far Away
It is no secret that Canadians love their nature and this is one of the reasons why Canada was voted the number 1 travel destination in 2017 by Lonely Planet. Montreal is no exception. Within city limits, one can find Mont Royal, a massive in park in the middle of Montreal that acts as a natural landmark and the tallest peak. The newly completed Lachine Canal path offers 14.2 KM (8.8 MI) of multi-use access to go across the island from the Old Port to the West Island. Beyond Montreal, you are surrounded by nothing but spectacular other nature areas including national and provincial parks. Mont Sutton and La Mauricie National Park are some of my favorite within 2 hours of the city. Gaspésie is by far my favorite region in all of Québec for hiking and camping.
3) Travel Without Leaving
Montreal is one of the most multicultural cities in not only North America, but the world. Almost every country on Earth is represented in the city and with all of these immigrants, they bring with them their food from their homeland. Montreal has the second most restaurants per capita (about 6000), second only to a small city named New York. The amount of choice, diversity, and selection of restaurants is dizzying. From Mandy’s to Boustan’s to La Khaima to East African Restaurant, one can find anything they want or desire. Montrealers are big on their healthy eats so restaurants such as Venice MTL, Aux Vivres, and La Panthere Verte are extremely popular. If you wanted to, you could travel to a new country every weekend. Recently, I’ve eaten Moroccan, Ethiopian, Pakistani, and Lebanese food. Montrealers are lucky for the crazy amount of amazing, different food at their fingertips.
4) Winter Sports
Since nature is all around Montreal, when cold weather and snow descend on the city, Montrealers run for the hills...ski hills that is! Montrealers don’t make excuses that it is too cold outside to stay active since many love to ski and snowboard. The culture here surronding the two sports is massive! Many head up to “chalets” or cabins as they are known in other parts of North America, for weekends of hanging out with friends, eating, drinking, and skiing. Great balance here! Besides, staying inside all winter working out and staring at 4 white walls is boring. It is important to get outside and inject a burst of energy into your workout, no matter what the weather is like outside.
5) Huge Martial Arts Community
Georges St-Pierre’s, a native of a town just outside Montreal, comeback fight and win has shone a huge spotlight on Montreal’s martial arts community. There were also two other Montreal-based fighters on that card as well, Joe Duffy and Aiemann Zahabi. What I’ve noticed about Canadians who do martials arts is that they do it for themselves whether it be for confidence, to learn a new skill, or stay fit. For a lot of people, they do it for self-defense, but Montrealers love to stay fit and in shape through martial arts. You can find any kind of martial art in the city that your heart desires, including the home of the UFC fighters I mentioned above Tristar. If you are ever in Montreal, feel free to stop by Carlson Gracie Montreal to try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
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