My shining athletic moment was when my high school yearbook mislabelled me as the student who won the city-wide cross country meet.
I was actually on the cross country team, but never breached the top tier, despite what my yearbook might try to tell you. (Am I more than happy to pretend I did win? You bet!)
I may not be a star athlete, but I was still excited about the fitness opportunities on campus when I came to UBC, from all the facilities to just being able to run down to the beach.
You don’t need to have the raw physical prowess of a gladiator to enjoy all of UBC’s amenities—whatever your experience or skill level, you can find something that works for you.
Click on a link to explore a particular activity and where you can do it—or scroll through to browse them all!
- Working out
- Track & field / jogging
- Boating and rowing
- Intramurals, drop-in sports, and more!
These are the places on campus to "pump some iron" (what I heard someone say once in a 90s teen movie).
- $42.50 per term fitness centre membership with UBC Recreation includes access to two of UBC’s biggest fitness centres:
- For students living in residence: Fitness rooms are available in each residence commonsblock—for free! Also check out the Fitness in Residence program for free group fitness and yoga sessions.
Swimming is one of the best disciplines to win lots and lots of Olympic medals, so start practicing now. Or, just do it because it’s fun and good for you.
- UBC Aquatic Centre: This state-of-the-art building hosts drop-in swimming, classes, a lazy river, and even collects rainwater on its roof to save 2.7 million litres of water a year! Length swims and drop-in visits to the UBC Aquatic Centre are free for UBC Students.
Note: An online login for UBC Recreation’s new registration system is required.
- Wreck Beach/Spanish Banks/Jericho Beach: If you prefer to swim in the real thing, check out these 3 great beaches just minutes away from UBC.
You’re literally walking on (frozen) water! It’s magical!
- Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre: With 3 ice rinks, hockey, and skating programs for all skill levels, you’ll be ready for your Disney On Ice audition in no time. Drop-in skating is free for UBC students.
Playing tennis is one of the only times nobody will judge you for making primal sounds as you swing a fibreglass stick around.
- UBC Tennis Centre: This indoor tennis facility is perfect for rainy days in Vancouver. UBC students can book a court or come for lessons at a discounted student price.
- Place Vanier and Totem Park courts: Free for residents of these complexes!
Jogs are a great way to advertise to as many people as possible how good you look with a healthy sheen of sweat.
- Rashpal Dhillon Track and Field Oval: Run laps here in the scenic Thunderbird Park.
- Pacific Spirit Regional Park: There are loads of trails here to explore (and loads of dogs to meet).
- Wreck Beach Stairs: There may be a lot of steps, but they’re worth the view at the bottom and the feeling you get when you make it to the top.
Sea captains have the best stories! Wow your friends with tales of the waves.
- UBC Boathouse: Located in Richmond. Register here for beginner rowing and paddling courses.
- Day of the LongBoat: An annual event that brings thousands of UBC students to Jericho Beach for one of the largest voyageur canoe race in the world. This year it takes place on September 30 and October 1; register by September 17, 2023.
If the above activities are too lonesome for you, UBC Recreation provides a ton of team sports with varying competitive levels. Whether you’re looking for something casual or something more competitive, you have options.
1. Weekly intramural leagues
If you’re looking to play with friends or meet new friends, joining the intramural leagues is the perfect way to participate in games every week at every skill level. This term’s offerings include: ice hockey, basketball, soccer, volleyball, dodgeball, inner tube water polo, roundnet, and ultimate frisbee.
If you need help finding teammates, UBC Recreation Intramurals hosts a Facebook group where players who are looking for a team, and teams that are looking for more players, can be connected. Another option is to check out the Free Agent Meetings on September 14 for a chance to meet other like-minded students for an intramural team.
2. Competitive sports clubs
Although I really only get competitive in board games, I totally get how the thrill of a competitive sports season is just as fun as bankrupting your opponents in Monopoly. With 14 teams across 12 sports in the UBC Thunderbirds Sports Clubs, you can get competitive in anything from Nordic Skiing to Triathlon.
3. Drop-in sports
Come when you’re free to play without having to commit to a team for the term or year, with sports from badminton to volleyball (and sometimes special activities like indoor cricket) to tickle your fancy. Drop-in sports at the Student Recreation Centre are free for UBC students.
4. Special events
These happen throughout the year, and include big occasions like Day of the LongBoat and Storm the Wall. The events in term 1 include Day of the LongBoat, Gutterball Bowling, Water Wars, and Gladiator. You can usually join with a team or individually!
5. Campus walks
Join a free 45-minute Wellbeing Walk with the Move U Crew twice a month on our beautiful campus. These walks are often themed—like scavenger hunts, campus tours, or puppy walks!—and are a great way to get some cardio in while meeting like-minded friends.
6. Lunch & Lift Workshops
Learn tips to support a healthy mind and body at these combined fitness and wellbeing sessions. No equipment is required, though you may want to have a yoga mat or towel for the fitness portion.
7. Moves on MacInnes
Moves on MacInnes provides free sports and activity equipment to the UBC community for use on MacInnes Field. Stop by the SRC front desk and use your UBCcard to borrow ultimate discs, Spikeball sets, soccer balls, jump ropes and fitness equipment, plus other field sports equipment.
Getting involved in physical activities at UBC is a fun way to meet new people and make friends, or spend time with the friends you already have.
If you want to see what some of the above options are like before you commit to anything, try UBC Recreation Free Week happening from September 11 - 17. You can try out a variety of classes and facilities at no charge, and see what fitness at UBC is all about.