Fitness District: Hillhurst/Sunnyside

Fitness District is a place where we explore some of Calgary’s most notable neighbourhoods and share some of the best they have to offer in terms of fitness and health. 

Hillhurst/Sunnyside is one of Calgary’s oldest communities and is most often referred to as Kensington (although this technically refers to the popular shopping district that links the two communities). It’s located on the north side of the Bow River and has a lot to offer for health and fitness-conscious young professionals:

The natural environment
Calgary’s extensive river pathway system can easily be accessed from Hillhurst/Sunnyside since the community is located right on the Bow River. The pathway accommodates runners, cyclists, and inline skaters. Head east or west on the north or south side of the river and the pathway stretches out many kilometers for a great workout. 

If you are looking for intensity over endurance, check out the stairs behind the Calgary Curling Club (720-3 Street SW). They might just be the neighbourhood’s worst-kept secret, but the stairs are packed for a reason: they offer an amazing lower-body workout that will get your heart pumping. If you are looking for a more gradual climb, give the 10th street hill a whirl. 

For a leisurely day of activity (think frisbee or flying a kite), head over to the expansive Riley Park nestled between 10th & 12th street, north of 5th avenue.

The gym
Hillhurst/Sunnyside is home to a few small fitness facilities. If you are looking for a more traditional/basic gym (think weights and cardio equipment), check out Kensington Fitness Studio. The Hillhurst/Sunnyside Community Centre also offers drop-in classes like yoga, martial arts and indoor cycling, as well as a gymnasium that can be rented out for activities. The community is also home to two amazing pilates studios: Pilates North and The Pilates Studio. Both offer group, semi-private, and private mat and reformer-style classes as registered programs or drop-in. Pilates North also offers some non-traditional classes that blend other equipment with pilates (e.g., TRX, BOSU).

The gear
If you are looking for some new gear to inspire and motivate your efforts, check out the Running Room and Ridley’s Cycle. The Running Room offers a variety of clothing, shoes, and gear that will help you get the most out of your activity (running or more). Ridley’s Cycle has a large selection of bikes, tools, parts, and accessories to keep you riding smoothly, and clothing to keep you comfortable and styling.

The fuel
Kensington has some amazing restaurants, but if you are looking for some health fare to fuel your active lifestyle, be sure to check out Gratitude Cafe. The menu is comprised of a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and raw food choices for the “hungry” and “very hungry.” We are also partial to Kol3, the Vietnamese restaurant that specializes in gluten-free savoury crepes (Banh Xeo) made with rice flour, turmeric powder, and coconut milk that are served with a green salad.

The relaxation
Massage therapy is an important component of health and wellness as it helps bring blood and nutrients to the muscle tissues to help repair and renew cells. It can also help improve flexibility by helping to release the tissue that connects the ligaments and tendons. Check out Apex Massage Therapy for a variety of massage services, including quick concerns (30 minutes), pre and post-natal, and hot stone massages.

Photo courtesy Gratitude Cafe