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Getting Fit in Canberra

Getting fit and staying physically active is an intrinsic part of the Australian way of life. As a student, you may often find yourself running out of hours in the day balancing studying, working a part-time job and socialising with friends. However, it’s so important to make time for staying fit and healthy.

No matter your choice of exercise, Canberra is a great place to keep both your physical and mental wellbeing in peak condition – and you don’t need a gym membership to achieve it. While you are sure to find plenty of gyms and fitness centres in the area, this article will cover how you can look beyond a traditional gym in Canberra to help those on a budget. 


Traditional gyms are a great place to get your sweat on but can often be expensive or out of your budget, especially as a student. Here are a few options that still enable you to stay fit without needing to join a conventional gym:

Outdoor gyms – These public and free-to-use spaces are the perfect budget-friendly option to get in a workout in the great outdoors. Check out Henry Rolland Park or John Knight Memorial Park.

University gyms – Universities and education institutions often house gyms on-campus that can be a more affordable option, offering student discounts. Check out UCFit Gym at the University of Canberra or ANU’s Fitness Centre.

Outdoor activities

Canberra is lucky enough to be home to a wide range of running routes, walking trails and parks. These outdoor spaces are a great opportunity to stay active without needing to fork out for a gym membership:

Lake Burley Griffin – Enjoy rowing, sailing and kayaking on Canberra’s iconic lake. You can also cycle and walk along the 40 km shoreline. 

Mount Ainslie – Take in the views over Canberra and walk or cycle to this impressive lookout. It’s lovely at all times but a particular treat at sunrise and sunset.

The Bloody Long Walk – Challenge yourself to this 35km route that takes you across major sites of Canberra to raise funds to cure mito – walk, jog or run!

Canberra Centenary Trail – This 145 km loop trail is perfect for walkers and cyclists alike. Take in the gorgeous surroundings of urban and rural Canberra while working up a sweat.

Group classes and community fitness

Try your hand at yoga, dance, pilates, swimming or even rock climbing with friends. There are plenty of group fitness classes at centres and private studios in the Canberra area. Check out some of our favourites:

Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Rink – Whether you’re a beginner or an ice skating pro, you’re guaranteed to have a day jam-packed with fun.

Canberra Indoor Rock Climbing – All levels from beginners to experts can challenge themselves with rope walls and bouldering caves.

Weston Indoor Sports – Kick the ball around with a game of soccer, volleyball, netball and cricket at indoor competitions for mixed, men’s and women’s teams.

VertiGal Aerial Fitness – New to pole dancing? This unconventional exercise offers strength, flexibility, and cardio and gives you a full-body workout.

Subsdance Dance Studio – Teaching quality dance classes including Zumba fitness in various styles and cultures for adults of all levels and abilities. 

Sports clubs and university societies

Make like the locals and get involved in community sports or your university’s fitness societies. If you’re interested in joining a sporting club see Playing Sport in Your City. Take a look at some options here:

Urban Rec – Register as an individual or team and join a number of sports like Aussie Rules Footy, dodgeball, hockey, soccer and more.

ACT Cricket Association Inc –  Perfect for all levels and skills, play cricket with Canberra’s best and join a thriving community.

University of Canberra’s Netball Club – Join UC’s club for all levels of expertise. It’s a great opportunity to meet new friends while staying fit.

ANU Dance Club – Ideal for new starters to experienced dancers, Dance Club provides low-cost classes ranging from hip hop, and jazz to contemporary.