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There are no excuses: where and how to exercise in Bogotá

Exercising in Bogotá

Exercise is a hard habit to create for almost everybody and there’s some unexpected challenges when it comes to exercising; “I don’t want to invest in a gym membership”, “At home gym equipment is expensive”, “I don’t know where to go to”. All of these are common reasons why we sometimes give up on our fitness goals. I’ll try my best to motivate you to go to the gym, and I’ll talk to you about all the different possibilities of exercising that are offered to us right here in Bogotá! 

I’ve come up with this article, to talk to you as a local who’s exercised in the city in different ways. So, without more, here are various exercising alternatives Bogotá offers, accompanied by the experiences and tips I can offer!

Private gyms for all budgets

© Photograph by tpsdave on Pixabay

Bogotá’s gym scene is big, diverse, and amazing, meaning there’s a lot of options that can suit your needs best; there’s different price ranges, styles, locations, and installations. Just to name a few of the big establishments you can become a member of, there’s options like:

Keep in mind the given prices are for three month-plans and don’t include subscription fees, the prices also vary depending on which location you visit. In my personal experience, these big gyms have great infrastructure, meaning they have a lot of gym machines, there’s medical and health attention; they sometimes offer perks like saunas, cafés, swimming pools, public classes, private trainers, and many other things. They commonly offer a great number of commodities that you may, or may not, be willing to pay. Given they’re chain establishments, they have different gyms throughout the city, which can offer some practicality benefits, making these a solid exercising option. On the downturn, these places can be somewhat intimidating at times, there’s usually a lot of people so maybe you’ll want to steer clear on mornings and afternoons on weekdays, and different types of membership make for a not-so-flexible system so you may not be able to use all of the commodities the gym offers.

A couple of interesting private gym alternatives to these big establishments are neighborhood gyms, and gym apps. Neighborhood gyms are much smaller, but provide the basic gym needs. You don’t get all the commodities you get in big establishments, but you do get cheaper prices. What I’ve liked about these gyms is that there’s a sense of family, given that establishments are small and everybody gets to know each other, so meeting people and working out together in these types of gyms is fun. Gym apps are a new digital way of getting a gym membership.

Apps such as Fitpal offer a digital membership (140,000 COP or 40 USD for 3-month plans) that allows you to visit any of the gyms that are linked to the app, making it very easy to find close-by gyms that suit your needs. This app is a great alternative to big chain establishment-gyms if you’re uncomfortable with them, and it also provides unrivaled diversity when it comes to all the different types of gyms and places you can visit there’s yoga, kickboxing, spinning, climbing, you name it! The app’s idea is for you to get to know different places, so you can only visit the same establishment 4 times a month, so you’ll be visiting different places throughout the month, Fitpal claims to have over 600 linked gyms and works in, not only Bogotá but all major Colombian cities. 

Outdoor gyms

Where to exercise in Bogotá
© Photograph by trysh on Pixabay

When people think outdoors, they think mostly about running, cycling or other outdoor activities; it’s uncommon to think about outdoor gyms. Nonetheless, there are hundreds of parks in Bogotá, and a lot of them have outdoor gyms that people can use without charge (you can check out all of Bogotá’s parks here and see what they have to offer!). The idea of using an outdoor park sounds a bit unorthodox, but once you give it a try, you realize that it’s a great alternative to conventional gyms. It’s common for people to exercise in big groups throughout larger parks in Bogotá such as ‘El Virrey’, ‘Simón Bolívar’, ‘Country’, ‘Virgilio Barco’ and others, so it’s possible to find people to exercise with. What I like about exercising in parks is that you create your own routine, although some can find that inconvenient. If accompanied by discipline and self-sufficiency, outdoor gym routines can work just as well as conventional gyms, and you’d get fit without paying a single thing. The downside to outdoor gyms is it requires self-discipline, you’ll need your own basic equipment, and climate can sometimes be challenging.

Other activities

Exercising in Bogotá
© Photograph by StockSnap on Pixabay

Besides conventional and outdoor gyms, you can exercise by playing sports or engaging in one of the many fitness activities Bogotá offers! For example, calisthenics are a great way of getting in shape and can be performed almost anywhere, and there are big groups that dedicate themselves to it, so joining them can reinforce your commitment to exercising. Sports are another great exercise alternative; they’re fun, which makes it easier, and even more so if it’s a team-based sport. Playing soccer on 5v5 courts (link to our article on the best 5v5 soccer fields in Bogotá), basketball in public parks or tennis in a club are all great options! Public parks offer great installations for basic sports such as soccer or basketball, and you can find more advanced infrastructure on parks like Simón Bolívar (Check out our articles on ‘Parque Simón Bolívar’  and ‘Parque el Virrey’, you can also look at the IDRD page for more info on Bogotá’s parks). 

Exercising outside the city is a great option as well; cycling or hitchhiking in places like Suesca or La Calera can be great and provide unique experiences you can engage in with friends! Although these require more planning and cannot be done as often as jogging in your local park. Cycling in the city is an option as well, given all of Bogotá’s ‘ciclorutas’ (Check out our articles on everyday cycling and the ‘ciclovía nocturna’). Hitchhiking to places like Monserrate or Guadalupe is a great experience as well; the city also offers other hiking options throughout the eastern mountains.

Last but definitely not least, is participating in Bogotá’s ‘ciclovía’ every Sunday! Where the city’s major streets are closed off to cars and handed over to cyclists, joggers, dogs, skateboards, and more. Not only can you ride your bicycle throughout the city, but you can also dance or stretch in one of the many public aerobic classes that are offered throughout the city in the ‘ciclovía’. From personal experience, I can tell you that the Sunday ‘ciclovía’ is one of the best exercising experiences you can have, and it offers a completely different perspective of Bogotá!

Don’t Surrender!

Bringing yourself to exercise is hard, but worth it, nonetheless, it’s important to not only begin exercising but following through and making it a habit. We’ve all wanted to surrender at some point, but with the right mindset, you’ll be able to push through and reach your goals! I hope this guide has been useful to know where to exercise in Bogotá. Gyms, sports, and other activities are all great alternatives, and they can all give you what you want as long as you work hard. 

Keep reading articles at Colture to know about everything Bogotá has to offer and keep in mind we’re constantly adding new content!

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