Another question we had prior to coming to Cuenca was if there was a good gym where we could exercise. A gym didn’t seem necessary with all the walking we do but exercise at a gym was a real habit with us. Cuenca is a city of hills, steep steps and is located at about 8000 feet elevation. All this tends to make even walking a pretty strenuous activity. When we first arrived we were concerned about altitude sickness and even had our North Carolina physician prescribe medication to prevent a reaction to living at a high altitude. This was totally unnecessary as we acclimated almost immediately, even when we stayed in Quito which is at about 10,000 feet. However, more strenuous exercise than walking takes a while to get used to. Running or climbing the 50 steps up to the city or even hiking in the mountains, makes even the most fit person, stop to catch their breath. After living at sea level for almost all of our lives, the altitude in Cuenca took a little getting used to when we exercise. Even though normal walking or working around the apartment doesn’t bother us, strenuous exercise like climbing the steps to the city requires a stop to recover. So, we decided to try to find a gym. There is no such thing as the huge Gold’s Gym or its equivalent in Cuenca. Most gyms are small and have quite antiquated equipment. The gym at the University of Cuenca, which you would expect to be quite elaborate, appears almost dangerous. The equipment is old and in bad repair. After much inquiry and a lot of looking, we found, what we think is the best in Cuenca.
It is called Cam Gym and is located in the newer section of town just off Avenida Remigio Crispo. There are many others located all over the city but Cam Gym has fairly new equipment, a trainer, is clean and is in good repair. Tai kwon do and dance are taught upstairs. Tai kwon do is a very popular activity for children of all ages and the gym creates many champions while the children are still in grade school. Because almost everything is within walking distance, we and most of our friends enjoy and go walking a great deal more than when we lived in the suburbs of the US. It has to be healthy, even though it is tough going sometimes, and, along with going to the gym three times a week, we feel in the best shape we have been in years.