Fitness in Toronto is a huge industry. Torontonians love to stay in shape, and as a result the city enjoys a wide range of gyms, fitness clubs, sports clubs and yoga studios.
Fitness Clubs and Gyms
Toronto is consistently found to have one of the slimmest populations in Canada. In fact, a recent study by the University of Alberta found that the city is second only to Vancouver in terms of low rates of obesity. It should come as no surprise that fitness facilities can be found in all corners of the city.
As is the case with much in Toronto, the highest concentration of fitness clubs and gyms can be found in the downtown core.
Neighbourhoods like the Financial District and the Entertainment District are full of them, serving the many people looking to exercise before and after work.
Yonge Street also has a fair number of locations as well, especially around some of the bigger intersections like Yorkville, and Yonge and Eglinton. This tends to reflect the higher density of population in these neighbourhoods.
Many of the city’s fitness clubs allow for people to purchase the use of their facilities for short term, which can be handy for visitors to Toronto.
However, if you are a traveller to Toronto, you will find that the majority of hotels also have gym facilities on site. The better hotels feature pools, saunas, fitness rooms, weights, and equipment like treadmills and elliptical trainers.
People in Toronto love to play sports, and as a result there is a wide selection of sports facilities spread out all across the city. There are both indoor and outdoor facilities, but indoor athletics are particularly popular since they can be played year-round, even in the snowy depths of winter.
There are also many sports organizations and clubs which organize leagues and events across the city.
Toronto has huge variety of clubs devoted to just about every sports and activity you can think of. Hockey is arguably the most popular sport in Toronto, and certainly one of the largest in terms of participants.
The city operates over 40 arenas in the Greater Toronto Area, and dozens more outdoor rinks located in parks around the city.
Racquet sports such as tennis, squash, racquetball and badminton are also quite popular. There are both privately-run clubs and municipally-run facilities scattered across the city, including outdoor tennis courts that can be converted for the winter with domes.
Demand is high for racquet sports in the city, so privately-run clubs will usually require a membership to play.
Other sporting clubs run the gamut from soccer, to cricket, to extreme sports. Being the large metropolis that it is, Toronto has the market to offer specialized clubs that cater to all tastes.
There are also many fitness clubs devoted to boxing and the martial arts. Karate is the classic martial art, but there are also centres that offer lessons and training in Judo, Tae Kwon Do and Muay Thai.
Kickboxing is rapidly becoming a popular way to stay in shape, as are the many gyms popping up which are dedicated to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). A group to check out for more information is the Toronto Kickboxing and Muay Thai Academy, www.tkmt.ca.
Yoga is another increasingly popular choice for physical fitness, and is often used for therapeutic purposes as well. There are a multitude of options in the city of Toronto, covering many of the different styles and disciplines of yoga.
While some gyms and fitness clubs offer yoga sessions, there are many more businesses devoted entirely to this activity. They are located across the city, but unlike larger fitness clubs they are less common in the downtown area. You are more likely to find one in an area like Liberty Village, Yonge and Eglinton or The Beaches.
Iyengar yoga is the most common style available, with its more deliberate pace. Ashtanga yoga is more vigorous, while Moksha hot yoga offers a therapeutic style that takes place in a specially heated room.
There are also classes available geared towards specific age groups, including those designed for kids, teens or senior citizens.
Gyms and sports facilities aren’t the only places you can go to stay in shape; the outdoors is great for somewhere to get exercise and a little fresh air at the same time.
The Greater Toronto Area has an extensive system of parks and trails that are also quite accessible. They’re great for jogging, cycling and even roller-blading.
One of the distinctive features of the city’s geography is a series of forested deep ravines that have almost entirely escaped development. The city maintains a sprawling network of paths that follow these ravines throughout much of the city.
The Don Valley is the most extensive of these forested ravines, with a series of trails that run for more than 8 kilometres over a wide valley carved out by the Don River.
Even downtown, the city has lots of green space where one can be outside and get a little exercise. Spots like Christie Pits Park, Trinity-Bellwoods Park and High Park are all popular places for recreational activities like soccer, softball, or even for just tossing a Frisbee around.
Meanwhile, city pools and beaches provide the opportunity for a little aquatic exercise.
Fitness in Toronto can be found in many forms all over the city. Take a look around Totally Toronto to find more on Toronto sports.