5 ways to get fit for free in Cape Town

There’s no need to spend money on joining a gym when you’re living in or visiting Cape Town – the city is home to more free fitness facilities, places, groups and classes than you can count! We name five of the best.

If you’ve stayed in Cape Town more than a few days, you’ll soon realise a steady line-up of world-class cuisine and bottomless wine tours can tickle the taste buds but tack-on some unwanted kilos. Lucky for you, there are many ways to get fit for little more than the cost of transportation to some of the city’s most breathtaking destinations.

1. Free Summer Fitness Classes at V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront, Africa’s most popular tourist destination, has teamed up with Virgin Active, Adventure Boot Camp and Kranking Fitness Studio to offer free exercise classes until Saturday, 30 April 2016. Just enough time left to shake off those Easter extras…

2. Lion’s Head Sunset Hike

If waking up early to exercise isn’t for you, lace up your shoes and hike Lion’s Head at sunset when the full moon displays its glory. The one- to two-hour hike is a local favourite and not too difficult. You’ll be in good company if you also pack a (healthy) picnic and lots of water. Just remember your safety: hike in groups, wear proper footwear, bring a torch for the dark way down and layers in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.

3. Running Clubs & Free Outdoor Gyms

There are plenty of student, intern and adult running clubs to join in any area of Cape Town, many operating from popular fitness hubs such as the 2.5-km Rondebosch Common jogging loop, Newlands Forest Contour Path or the fitness circuit at Green Point Park. And don’t forget the almost 50 free outdoor gyms rolled out by the folks from the City of Cape Town’s Parks Department. There’s one in Sea Point, another in Muizenberg and lots more in-between. Let your fingers do the Googling to find your closest outdoor gym.

4. Stroll the Sea Point Promenade

Sea Point Promenade is free and open to the public all year round. The best part? It’s accessible to everyone, from body builders to baby-toting mothers to senior citizens – and you can finish off your workout with an (inexpensive) swim at the Sea Point outdoor pool.

5. Gardens Skate Park

If you’ve got a skateboard or longboard and want to practice your tricks without worrying about fist-shaking neighbours, head to Cape Town’s skate park in Gardens (next to the MyCiti bus station under the Mill Street Bridge). It’s free and open to novice and experienced skaters during daylight hours.

Cape Town’s Om Revolution takes yoga outdoors

The Om Revolution aims to bring about a revolution towards peace and well-being through free yoga for all in the beautiful outdoor spaces of Cape Town.

Cape Town has many outdoor attractions, so it’s about time yoga was offered in the fresh air and sunshine: the Om Revolution’s low-cost (and regularly free) public classes at various locations allow anyone to give yoga a try. One option is to join them every Saturday at 09h00 at the Company’s Garden in the heart of Cape Town

(on Lawn R at entrance 9, near the Wale Street entrance to the Garden—keep an eye out for The Om Revolution signs). At the height of summer, Clifton beach on Sundays from around 18h00 is another option.

Austrian-born marketing consultant and seasoned yogi Victoria Csarmann initially came up with the idea of a mobile yoga studio as part of a business plan for her personal trainer. But when the trainer decided on a career change at the last minute, Victoria decided to take it on as her own project. “I realised that there was this huge gap in the market, not only in terms of fulfilling clients’ needs, but also for yoga instructors in Cape Town who are struggling to get work,” says Victoria.

Essentially, the venture takes the studio out of practising yoga and thereby eliminates some of the drawbacks associated with many yoga studios, like overbooked classes or instructors not giving adequate personal attention.

But they don’t just host classes in parks and on beaches. “With the Om Revolution, you decide when and where you want to have your lesson and you also have the option of deciding who you want to join you for the session,” says Csarmann.

Solo yoga: strike a pose in Cape Town’s great outdoors

Cape Town offers a mind-boggling abundance of yoga studios to choose from, but don’t knock going solo in one of the great outdoor settings Cape Town has to offer.

Having tried a number of different styles over the years I’ve found that doing yoga by myself gives me an opportunity to take guidance from my body instead of from a teacher. And my body is always grateful to be listened to. I start with some basic asanas (yoga poses) and then disengage my mind and allow my body to flow into “poses” one might not normally find in a class. It’s my yoga, or as I call it, moga.

Yoga means “union”, but it also means “to yoke”. As one might yoke a horse to a cart, so the aim is to yoke your attention to your body. One of the aims of yoga is to develop concentration, and personally I find it easier to access concentration by doing my practice solo—and grounded!

The science on grounding is really interesting. It basically means being in direct, bare-skin contact with the ground, and it dramatically improves heart-rate variability, cortisol dynamics, blood viscosity, sleep and it reduces the effects of stress. It has several beneficial effects on the brain, altering brain waves and bringing the right brain into a slightly more dominant position. Most notably, it has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.

Some of my favourite places to ground and do some moga include the lawns at Kirstenbosch, the lawns at Newlands public swimming pool, the patch of grass at Deer Park overlooking the city, and Oudekraal beach. But then, any beach or back yard will do. Cape Town abounds with beautiful outdoor settings for solo practice—start looking and you’ll be amazed where it takes you!

Watch the stars under Cape Town’s stars at this summer cinema

Looking for a great movie night out? The Galileo Open Air Cinema screens cult classic films under the summer sky in various scenic settings in and around Cape Town during the summer months.

Fancy watching nostalgia-inducing films under a summer night’s sky? If yes, get tickets for a show at the Galileo Open Air Cinema  – and don’t forget to pack your blanket and pillow for comfort.

The Galileo has a big screen set up at a handful of Cape Town’s choice outdoor locations and typically screens cult classics. Films such as Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, Thelma and Louise, Edward Scissorhands and Dirty Dancing have graced the line-up, along with contemporary documentaries.

You can kick back beneath the stars, surrounded by lush plants, at Kirstenbosch Gardens, the botanical gardens on the eastern side of Table Mountain, or in Durbanville’s Hillcrest Quarry, which is on a wine farm about a 30-minute drive from the city centre.

Movies are also screened at the V&A Waterfront and a host of other spots around the city. Grab something to eat from the food stalls, which include Mexican and South American-inspired cuisine, pizza and fairground treats: toffee apples, popcorn and the like.

The Galileo Open Air Cinema runs in the summer months from November through April from Tuesdays to Saturdays. Shows start at sunset but the gates open at 18h00 so you can get a good spot, grab snacks and settle in under your blankie.