It’s not news that physical activity is a must if you want to stay fit and healthy. Luckily, the Polish spring and summer are much more exercise-friendly than the winter months now behind us.
Switching from your car to a bike for commuting to work, going for long walks, hiking in the valleys near Krakow (www.krakowskieokolice.pl), jogging or roller skating around Błonia are all pleasant, and free, ways of keeping fit. However, if you got drastically out of shape over the exceptionally long winter, some more advanced measures may be needed.
There are many places in Krakow that can help you get back into shape quickly and efficiently and below is the short overview of the best. I have visited most of them myself, or had them recommended by friends. They are all modern, well-equipped places with welcoming atmospheres and instructors who speak English.
Photo: Joga Centrum
There are several dozen fitness clubs and centres in Krakow to choose from. Only a few have websites in English, and the most comprehensive are: the Cascada Sports and Recreation Centre (en.cascada.com.pl), the Wellness Club at Krakow Aquapark (wellness.parkwodny. pl) and Manufaktura Zdrowia at the Krakow Business Park in nearby Zabierzów
This doesn’t mean other gyms are not worth visiting. Fitness Młyn at ul. Przemysłowa 4 (not far from Mocak and the Schindler Museums) has some of the most comprehensive facilities in our city, including an indoor swimming pool, pole dancing classes, special training programmes for people with disabilities and many activities for seniors and children, as well as the standard fitness and gym offers.
Fitness Platinium is a rapidly growing network of fitness clubs with locations at ul. Mogilska 97, ul. Zakopiańska 105 and ul. Lea 213. If you are worried about the language barrier, ask for classes with Kasia Bodzioch. And if you would like to join a group of runners led by an experienced coach on one of the 10 running trails in the city – inquire about the Run Krakow project, organised by Fitness Platinium in cooperation with the City Council and the Krakow University School of Physical Education.
Energym Fitness Club, with locations at ul. Wrocławska 28 and Osiedle Kolorowe 33, have opening hours that cater to night owls and early birds – they welcome clients from 6am to 11pm. As well as a wide range of fitness classes they also offer more exotic programmes in their well-equipped gym, such as the mysterious-sounding Muay Thaim and TRX.
If you’re a tough guy looking for a real workout challenge, try GTX functional training from the GTX Training Fitness Club (ul. Ostatnia 2c). Club manager, Jakub Podgórski, said: “It’s an innovative training system that comes from professional sport and gives incredible results. For us, physical fitness and the health of our clients is the most important, an improved appearance is just a side effect.”
Personally, I’m a great lover of yoga. It’s not only a pleasant way to achieve physical fitness, it also provides the: “capacity to live in harmony with yourself and the surrounding environment,” as it says on the Yoga International website (www.yogainternational.com.pl), the only yoga school in Krakow that offers bilingual instruction and has a website in English.
Photo: Joga Centrum
There are a dozen yoga schools in Krakow (see: www.joga.krakow.pl) but the biggest and best are Sadhana Yoga School at ul. Długa 17 and Yoga Centre (Joga Centrum) at ul. Biskupia 18. They are both conveniently located, have years of experience and offer classes at all levels seven days a week. Most of the yoga teachers in both schools speak English fluently, and Agnieszka Grin-Walaszek of the Yoga Centre is keen to run a class solely in English. It’s also worth mentioning that Yoga Centre offers special activities for mums and dads with babies or toddlers, as well as prospective parents, as part of the Conscious Parenting Institute.
Last, but not least, swimming is a great form of exercise open to people of all ages. Krakow’s favourite swimming pool is at the AGH University Campus (www. basen.agh.edu.pl), where you can find classes for kids as young as three months. The pool is open to all in the mornings and evenings on weekdays and all day long at weekends.
Cover photo: Fitness Młyn swimming pool