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Two students running together on the Foreshore Trail by Wreck Beach
September 2, 2021
4 mins read

Intramurals, fitness, and recreation on campus

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! 

Note: Stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 safety protocols, including vaccine and mask requirements, before visiting.

Working out

These are the places on campus to "pump some iron" (what I heard someone say once in a 90s teen movie).

  • The ARC at the UBC Life Building: Lots of brand new shiny machines with free day-use lockers.
  • The BirdCoop in the SRC (scroll down): A UBC classic, this is the original hotspot for gym rats.
  • UBC Bodyworks Fitness Centre: Designed and run by the School of Kinesiology. Come visit for only $3 Monday to Friday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. 
  • Fitness rooms in Place Vanier, Totem Park, and Orchard Commons: Free (and super close) if you live in one of these residences!


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! 
    Note: Due to COVID-19, all drop-in swimming sessions must be pre-registered online
  • 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. 
Student swimming in the new UBC Aquatic Centre Pool


You’re literally walking on (frozen) water! It’s magical!


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: The only public indoor tennis facility in Vancouver, you can book a court here or come for lessons at a discounted student price.
  • Place Vanier and Totem Park courts: Free for residents of these complexes!
Tennis Centre

Track & field / jogging

Jogs are a great way to advertise to as many people as possible how good you look with a healthy sheen of sweat. 

  • UBC Track and Field Oval: Run laps here in the scenic Thunderbird Park.
  • Pacific Spirit 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. 

Boating and rowing

Sea captains have the best stories! Wow your friends with tales of the waves. 

  • UBC Boathouse: Register here for beginner rowing and paddling courses, or join a student rowing league.
  • Day of the LongBoat: An annual event that brings thousands of UBC students to Jericho Beach for the largest voyageur canoe race in the world. This year it takes place on September 26, 2021. 

Intramurals, drop-in sports, and more!

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 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, and ultimate frisbee.

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 11 sports in the UBC Thunderbirds Sports Clubs, you can get competitive in anything from Nordic Skiing to Triathlon.

3. Drop-in sports
Come any day you’re free to play without having to commit to a team for the term or year, with sports from badminton to volleyball to tickle your fancy. 

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, the Great Escape, and Inner Tube Water Polo. 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 and Lift Workshops
If you’ve gotten accustomed to Zoom workouts from anywhere, you’ll love the virtual Lunch and Lift Workshops. You’ll learn tips to support a healthy mind and body and no equipment is required.

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 in early September for a chance to meet other like-minded students for an intramural team.

Getting involved with all the physical activities available at UBC is a fun way to meet new people and make friends, or a great way to 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 13 - 19. You can try out a variety of classes and facilities at no charge, and see what fitness at UBC is all about.

Being active is an important part of staying healthy, so choose an activity that works for you and get moving!