Like dance, swimming can be a great form of exercise that doesn't involve hitting the gym. Moving your body for joy instead of punishment, and finding ways to incorporate a hobby element into your health practices ensures that you're more likely to stick with it.
People laugh because they only associate seniors with aqua classes or they shy away from swimming because it feels like a lonely solitary early morning sport but hear me out: the repetitive movement and sensory deprivation of the water can be very meditative and it's an excellent low-impact cardio workout. Nearly all of your muscles are used in swimming so it's a great strength builder as well.
Of all the forms of exercise you could do in the morning, it's the one that feels like the softest start to your day and if you're already showering in the morning it's just a step between getting up and doing that.
In the summer in Vancouver we are blessed with oceans, lakes, and outdoor pools to swim in but what about the colder months? Where can people swim in the fall and winter?
If you're lucky enough to live in an apartment that has an indoor pool then the hard part of finding a place to swim is taken care of for you and you don't have to deal with the hassle of free swim or lane times. But for those who don't have those kinds of amenities at home, here are places you can swim year-round throughout the city.
Most of the pools on this list are part of the City of Vancouver's jurisdiction and the swim fees start at $6.66 for adults with flex passes available.
Renfrew Park Pool
The Renfrew Park Pool, located inside the community centre, hosts all-ages aquafit classes on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. and a moderate, ages 13 and up class throughout October. The lanes open at 6:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday and there are public swim times every day. As an added bonus the pool also has a hot tub and sauna to enjoy post-swim.
Killarney Leisure Pool
No joke, the Killarney Pool page on the City of Vancouver's website reads, "for quicker admission consider visiting a nearby pool." And that's because Killarney and Hillcrest are the two most popular indoor swimming pools in Vancouver, especially on the weekends. However, 6:15 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays the lanes are open and so is the rest of the pool for public swimming so there may be a time in there when it's less busy. They also run aquafit classes on Thursdays and Fridays from 8 to 9 a.m. and from 9 to 10 a.m. on Sundays.
The YMCA and YWCA are the only entrants on this list that aren't run by the city, so they have different fees. An all-inclusive YWCA membership costs $65/month plus a $50 joining fee, and a short-term one-month-only membership is $115. The YWCA not only has a pool which members can access but it also offers $55 private swimming lessons or group swim training ranging from beginners to expert level.
The Robert Lee YMCA in Downtown Vancouver offers aquafit classes, lane swimming, an aquatic area and a hot tub. Young adults between the ages of 19 and 35 pay $26.99 bi-weekly for a membership and adults 36+ pay $32.74. The pool is open 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on weekends. They recommend booking aquafit classes at least three days in advance.
Hillcrest Aquatic Centre
The Hillcrest Aquatic Centre is the city's largest aquatic facility and, like Killarney, one of the most popular. They hold deep water aquafit classes on Wednesdays from 1:15 p.m. till 2 p.m. which is more advanced than the generic or shallow water classes that most other pools offer. Lane swim is from 6 to 9 a.m. on weekdays and there are masterstroke drop-in sessions for people who don't want full swimming lessons but would like some pointers on their form.
Vancouver Aquatic Centre
The VAC is currently operating on reduced hours on certain dates so it's worth checking ahead of time but lane swims are open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and standard aquafit classes are at 9:35 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Avoid the pool at all costs at 11 a.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. on weekends if you don't like kids because that's tot swim time. VAC also offers the deep water aquafit on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:05 till 2 p.m. and it's one of the few pools to have diving boards with practice times.
There are length swim times at multiple points throughout the day at Kerrisdale pool and they usually blend into public swims so chances are you'll be free to swim there wherever you want. Aquafit classes take place every morning somewhere between 8:30 and 10 a.m. depending on the day. The pool is located in the Kerrisdale Community Centre on West Boulevard and features a diving board and a slide.
Templeton Park Pool
Templeton Park Pool is a wheelchair-accessible pool with all the fun bells and whistles like a whirlpool, slide, rope swing, sauna, and a one-meter diving board. Like the other city pools, it offers aquafit classes (although only the shallow moderate class). The lanes are open 6:30 to 9 a.m. and alternate with public swim throughout the day so there are actually a lot of swim time options compared to some of the others.
Lord Byng Pool
The Lord Byng Pool is part of the West Point Grey Community Centre and is wheelchair accessible. There are times when it is closed for the school's use so before you go but the lanes are open from 6 to 9 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and from 3 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday which is convenient for after-work swimmers. Plus, the pool offers aquafit classes throughout the day.
The Britannia Pool located inside the recreation centre (which also houses an ice rink) is closed for annual maintenance but is set to reopen on Monday, October 17. There aren't any aquafit classes on the schedule at the moment but the lanes are open from 6:30 to 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. The pool has a diving board, rope swing, slide, sauna, steam room, hot tub, and a universal changing room.
UBC Aquatic Centre
The UBC pool isn't just for students and staff (though they do have free/discounted priority access to it). Members of the public between 19 and 64 can pay $6.75 for a single pass or opt for a 10-visit, one-month, four-month, or one-year pass that ranges from $61 to $431. Memberships grant full access to drop-in aqua fitness classes and use of the amenities like the 34-person hot tub, sauna, steam rooms, and four different pools.