Physical Activities

We know that physical activity is a huge benefit for our bodies, but we often forget how good it is for our brains, too! Besides lowering risk of disease and maintaining a healthy weight, physical wellness through exercise and activity can:

  • Help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Distract you from worries or negative thoughts
  • Naturally enhance mood and energy
  • Improve your sleep
  • Improve your self-confidence
  • Improve concentration, memory, and focus

While some people enjoy running to help “sweat it out,” others find more benefit from slower practices like yoga and tai chi. Some benefit from the community established through team sports and activities. Whatever activity gets you out of bed or away from the desk, doing it regularly will help your body and your mind. Below is a list of resources to get your heart pumping.

Graduate and Professional Intramural Sports (IMs)

Graduate and Professional Intramural Sports are offered to students and spouses or partners each season through the Sports and Recreation Department. IMs include soccer, volleyball, basketball, and ultimate Frisbee.


Payne Whitney Gymnasium (PWG)

Payne Whitney Gym has open exercise hours in all of its indoor facilities. Membership is free for all full-time Yale students, and others may join for a fee. During the academic year, PWG hours are Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; and weekends, 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Summer hours are Monday through Thursday, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Fridays 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and weekends, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


Physical Education Classes at Payne Whitney Gymnasium

Group exercise classes are available through the Physical Education Instructional Programs at Payne Whitney Gymnasium. Classes include cardio, dance, martial arts, sports skills, and a wide variety of yoga. Classes are open to all Yale community members, including partners and spouses, and are available for a minimal fee.

Full course schedules and descriptions can be accessed on the Sports and Recreation website.


Recreation in New Haven and Connecticut

New Haven and Connecticut offer wonderful scenic activities, including biking, hiking, running, and kayaking. Visit the Student Life website for guides to recreational experiences beyond Yale.


Walking Routes

There are plenty of sidewalks throughout New Haven that are great for walking.  Recommended routes, based on neighborhood and distance, are available on the Being Well at Yale website.


William Clay Ford Club Sports Program

Club Sports are open to Yale College, graduate, and professional students and provide opportunities to participate in competitive team activities without the pressure of a collegiate sports team.  Club teams are led by student officers and are supervised by the Athletics Department.  A full list of sports and contact information can be found on the Yale Sport and Recreation website.


Yale College Intramurals (IMs)

YC Intramurals offer Yale College students of all athletic ability the opportunity to play on a residential college-affiliated team. Thirty sports are offered through Yale Intramurals, which attract both student athletes and beginners. Colleges compete for the prestigious Tyng Cup, which is awarded at the end of every academic year. 


Yale New Haven T’ai Chi Study Group

Yale New Haven T’ai Chi Study Group offers class once a week and practice sessions twice a week at Dwight Hall. Classes are open to the public, and beginners are welcome, especially during September. A monthly membership fee of $40 is charged starting in October, though classes are free for undergraduates.


Yogis at Yale

Yogis at Yale (YAY) is a student-run organization that hosts daily yoga classes for the entire Yale community.  Classes are free and drop-in style and cover a range of yoga forms.


For information on yoga studios in New Haven, visit the Community Resources page.