When your clothes feel like they have been taken in overnight and going up a flight of stairs nearly gives you a heart attack, it might be time to exercise. But who likes the boring treadmill week after week? Spice up your exercise routine with these 6 brilliant outdoor and indoor activities Edinburgh has to offer and get your blood pumping while having fun.
Climb one of Edinburgh’s hills
Edinburgh is being called the Athens of the North due to the seven hills it is built on (and some Greek style around the city). These seven hills (see Wikipedia for a full list) offer the perfect challenge for everyone trying get active and burn some calories. If you like a smaller challenge, just climb central Calton Hill to get a great view of Edinburgh’s New and Old Town. For a bigger challenge, hike up the also very central Arthur’ Seat. But if you don’t want to share a glorious view with numerous tourists, selfie sticks and sight-blocking IPads, we recommend going up one of the less well-known hills. For example, Blackford Hill is high enough to have you break a sweat but also enables you to have your eyes wander across Edinburgh to the sea. For the more daring among us, it might be worth venturing out of the city to the Pentland Hills. This scenic regional park offers several panoramic walking routes and its highest peak is an impressive 579m (1,900ft) high.
- Calton Hill: Start your walk by heading up the stairs opposite the Scottish Government building (2 Regent Rd, Edinburgh EH1 3DG).
- Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park: Start your climb from Palace of Holyrood House (Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX) and take the beginner route around Salisbury Crags or climb the more difficult Arthur’s Seat via the signposted walkway.
- Blackford Hill: Start your climb at the Royal Observatory (Blackford Hill, EH9 3HJ).
- Pentland Hills Regional Park: Start at Flotterstone Information Centre (Penicuik, EH26 0PR) and head North-West into the hills.
Go for a waterside run
Edinburgh is full of enthusiastic runners as evident from our previous blog post on running in the city. Why not become one of them? And what makes a run even more enjoyable? Nice scenery! That’s why we suggest running along one of the many watersides in Edinburgh. For a scenic beach route head to Cramond beach and just run along the shore. Very enthusiastic runners can take part in a weekly 5k race every Saturday at 9.30am. But be aware, you will be entirely exposed to the elements – we are talking strong winds and possible rain. For a more sheltered route, the path along the Union Canal proves more suitable. Still a very pretty route to enjoy a stroll or speed walk, it leads you past green gardens, churches, beautiful bridges, and a canal boat once in a while.
- Cramond beach: Start your run at Cramond Village (EH4 6NU) and head East.
- Union Canal: Begin your run on the canal opposite our EQ2 Apartments (1 Lower Gilmore Bank, EH3 9QP) and head South-West.
(Photograph by John Forret via Wikimedia Commons)
Break a sweat at Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Gyms
If it’s one of those gnarly days once again and the rain just won’t stop, why not go for the safe option to exercise: hit the gym. Edinburgh’s got lots of great gyms, but if you are looking for a diversified mix of classes, state-of-the-art equipment, a swimming pool and sauna, you might head for one of the Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Gyms. Their two locations are conveniently placed in the city centre (Fountain Park and Omni Centre) and are close to all Fountain Court Apartments. Further, Fountain Court’s guests who don’t fancy a membership, can get a day pass for £10 only.
- Nuffield Health Omni Centre (61 Leith Street, EH1 3AU)
- Nuffield Health Fountain Park (65-69 Dundee Street, EH11 1AW)
Get a glow with Hot Yoga
To some exercising in a room heated to subtropical temperatures might seem a little scary, but we can assure you: it is heaven on earth especially in the winter months. Practice Yoga with experienced teachers in a hot and humid environment and watch your body perform poses never thought possible. Most Hot Yoga classes are suitable for beginners (but will also cater for the advanced) and drop-in prices start at £12 per class. Our favourite studio in Edinburgh is Canning Street Yoga (16 Canning Street, EH3 8EG). Just around the corner from our Grove Street, Morrison, and Harris Apartments, give them a try!
(Photograph by Drew Osborne via Wikimedia Commons)
Have your adrenaline pumping at the Aerial Assault in the EICA Ratho
A little bit outside of Edinburgh but easily accessible via public transport lays the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (South Platt Hill, Newbridge, EH28 8AA) in a disused quarry. It has the largest indoor climbing wall in the world giving you the chance to enjoy a real rock-climbing experience while not having to brave the elements. But what will really get your adrenaline levels up, is the indoor Aerial Assault course hanging from the arena’s roof. It takes you through an obstacle track with nets, ladders, climbing challenges and a zip wire an intimidating 30m (100ft) above the ground. So, if you fancy a walk about 5 storeys high, this is for you! Watch the video here.
Breathe in the fresh air during a bicycle tour
Due to its many hills Edinburgh might not be the most suitable capital for cycling tours, but you might be surprised at how many cycling routes there are in and around the city. If you don’t want to explore them by yourself, you can follow a professional guide of The Tartan Bicycle Company. From half to full-day, from easy to hard, from fully-guided to self-guided, they offer a range of exciting cycling tours that include pick-up from your accommodation in Edinburgh as well as bike rental. So put your helmet on, pull all your leg strength together and on you go.
Extra tip: Exercise your laughing muscles at The Stand Comedy Club
Don’t just exercise bums, tums, and thighs, but get your laughing muscles active as well! Just consider this fun fact: laughing for 15 mins burns 40 calories. Edinburgh’s finest comedy club The Stand hosts daily comedy shows by the freshest talent as well as established comedians. Catch Stu and Garry’s Free Improv Show every Sunday!
Planning a city break in Edinburgh? Stay in one of our spacious serviced apartments in the heart of the city centre.