Physical activity & recreation

Physical activity has many health benefits, but did you know that it can also make you a better student? Being physically active is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your health and wellness.

The benefits of being active

Being physically active can reduce stress and help you feel more energized and alert, making it a lot easier to focus on studying, writing, completing assignments or lab work, and preparing for exams.

Some of the benefits of physical activity include:

  • stronger muscles and bones
  • improved concentration and cognitive function
  • less risk of illness and chronic disease
  • improved ability to achieve or maintain your healthy weight
  • more energy
  • improved mood and self-esteem
  • lower stress levels1

1 Health Canada (2011), Physical activity 

How to get active

Getting active doesn't require hours at the gym.

Fitting physical activity into your day

Fitting 150 minutes of physical activity into your week can seem like a challenge, but fortunately, it’s easier than you think.

  • Find 10-minute workout breaks

Getting active doesn’t require hours in the gym. Take a break from your studies or work and walk to the coffee shop that’s furthest away, take the long way to your next class or meeting, or go for a quick evening run (always stick to well-lit and safe routes).

  • Try active transportation

Ride your bike to campus or get off the bus a stop or two ahead of where you need to be and walk the rest of the way.

  • Take advantage of UBC’s location

Try jogging the stairs to and from Wreck Beach, walking the perimeter of campus, snowboarding the local hills, or kayaking at Jericho Beach. Keep safety in mind – always exercise with a friend and/or in areas with other people around, and stick to well-lit routes.

  • Start your own walking or running group

It’s inexpensive to walk or run around campus, and if you do it as a group, chances are you’ll be motivated to keep it up.

  • Join a recreation-focused AMS Club, intramural team, or GSS sports team

Get active with others. Join a recreation-focused club like the Badminton Club, the Dance Club, the Sailing Club, or the Ultimate Club, among many others. You can also try out an activity by participating in intramural events or teams.

Get active with UBC Recreation

UBC Recreation offers a number of facilities and programs that can help you have fun and stay physically active.

Options include:

Get Moving activities

Discover free, fun, and low-barrier ways to get moving by yourself or with others at UBC. Whether you're just starting out in fitness, getting back to moving after a while, or finding new ways to move, there are lots of ways to get some activity into your day.

BirdCoop Fitness Centre

The BirdCoop is located in the Student Recreation Centre (SRC) and offers resistance training equipment, cardio equipment, spin classes, boot camps, and personal trainers to help you reach your personal fitness and wellness goals.

Classes and programs

Options include yoga, martial arts, Pilates, Zumba, and kickboxing. Many classes and programs are hosted at the Student Recreation Centre (SRC) and occur as frequently as three times per week.

League sports

Leagues are term-long, occur once per week, and are an easy way to integrate regular exercise into your schedule while staying in touch with friends.


Have fun and live active the UBC way. Meet new people and break a sweat by participating in annual events like the Day of the Longboat, the Great TrekLace Up for Kids, and Storm the Wall.

Drop-in programs for students

Activities across campus include free basketball, badminton, volleyball, and futsal. Swimmers will find over 40 hours of free access at the UBC Aquatic Centre, and Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre offers free public skating for UBC students.