Sports Center: Located close to the Faculty of Health Sciences campus, on the north east corner of Arlozerov/Ben Gurion Ave. The center has two 25 meter lap pools, one of which is indoor/covered and one outside (great exercise option during summer heat), a leisure pool, sauna & steam rooms, basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts, locker rooms, equipment/clothing shop, and a (crowded) weight room with exercise machines. Entrance to all the facilities, except the weight/exercise room, is free for students.

You will need to swipe your BGU (blue) ID card to enter the facility. If your ID is not yet printed or activated, tell the attendant you are a new student in the Columbia program – they should have a list.

Weight/Exercise Room Membership: To gain access to the weight room, you will need a doctor’s note stating you are ‘physically fit’ (and a list of the machines you may use) – this may be easier to obtain from your home doctor before arriving in Israel, but you may get it here at the student clinic on BGU main campus as well. You have to pay ~400 NIS for the year; if you want to use it before October 2013, you must pay an additional summer fee that’s ~300 NIS. In order to get membership, you’ll receive the proper form from Gaby in your Caroline mailbox, so keep your eyes peeled! She usually sends an email as well. Then you must take this form to the post office on campus to pay (verify the summer hours, cash only) and then go to the gym manager’s office to hand in your documentation.

The Sports Center is open seven days a week, though hours vary (for example, it closes early Friday and Saturday, opens at noon on Sunday). When you first arrive in July you may need to activate your student card, which can be done at BGU in the main student center in the basement.

Private gyms There are a couple of private gyms in Beer Sheva. There is one (Great Shape, colloquially known as Discogym) in the BIG, and Holmes Place, a UK based chain, has just opened a luxurious new complex with top of the line exercise machines, weights, classes, and a pool, off of David Tuviyahu Avenue. There is another at the Leonardo Hotel. These may be good options for spouses or visitors who cannot access the BGU Sport Center.

Sports Equipment: There are a few local stores that have sports equipment for you to purchase, like free weights (measured in kilos), yoga mats, soccer balls, tennis gear, and even punching bags. Some recommendations are HaAluf Sport located in the BIG (the same lot as Eden Teva). Dance gear, such as ballet/jazz/ballroom shoes and leotards can also be purchased at HaAluf Sport.

Basketball: If you are looking for a fairly competitive 5 on 5 game, show up to the Sports Center courts around 2:30pm on Fridays. It's hit or miss as to the quality of the competition, but it's another great way to meet some nice Israelis with similar interests. If you are looking to play 3 on 3 during the weekday or if you just want to shoot around, the basketball courts tend to be available weekday evenings after 5pm.

Biking: Having a bike makes all of Beer Sheva extremely accessible, and can make a huge difference for getting to class and around town, shopping and going on small trips and outings. It is cheapest to get a used bike for 150-350 NIS, but you can also get an entry level new bike for 400-100 NIS. For those more serious about biking, some people end up bringing their bikes from the States or buying a nice bike here (1500+ NIS).
Be very careful on the roads!
Bike theft is common. Use a good chain or U-lock. Cable locks have been, and will be, cut.
Shabbat is a great day to bike, roads and highways are less busy.
You can try to make it to Mitzpe Ramon or even Eilat on a road bike.
Mountain biking – it’s everywhere! Many popular routes. Join the BGU club.
Bring enough water with you!!!

Capoeira: A local group practices twice a week, as well as official BGU classes, for which Gaby can help you register.

Climbing: There is a brand new climbing gym in the old city called Performance Rock at Hatsmaut 4. Wednesday is free for ladies. Otherwise, one visit is 45 NIS if you go in the morning and 55 NIS in the evening. There are several pricing plans for monthy, half year, and annual memberships. Routes are swapped around regularly, so there’s always something new to climb. There are routes for every skill level. The first time you go, tell the counter you need to sign the waiver. You can get beer on tap (Malka) and granola bars at the counter. Members have a free single session pass that they can give to a friend.

Crossfit: The B7 Crossfit Box is on Wingate very close to school. Sessions are one hour long. There are 2-3 sessions scheduled each day. The best way to get involved is to join the facebook group (CrossFit Beer sheva-קרוספיט באר שבע) where you sign up for classes. As of this writing, you can buy a pass of 11 for 300 sheks.

Jiujitsu & Kickboxing: There is a small club in town that holds Jiujitsu, Muay Thai and general kickboxing classes.

Football (the Hand-Egg kind) and Cheerleading: The Beer Sheva Black Swarm is an American football team that plays in the Israeli Football League. Team consists mostly of college-aged players and young professionals. The season runs from Oct.-Mar. and culminates with the Isra-Bowl in Jerusalem. They practice every Monday night from 8:30-10:30, looking for players, coaches, referees, cheerleaders or spectators! / / moc.liamg|mrawskcalb.7B#moc.liamg|mrawskcalb.7B

Running: If you are a runner, you are not alone at MSIH. Talk to your classmates or send an email out, and you will soon find a running partner. During the hot parts of the year, the best time to run is before 7am or after 8pm. Be sure to wear something bright and highly visible. Most people find routes throughout the city, or venture out into the desert. Despite the popularity of running and physical activity in the area, some locals may clap or shout at runners. Ignore them. There is a BGU running group that meets at least once a week, posted on their facebook group: There are numerous races year-round in Israel, including the annual Glow run in Beer Sheva. Keep an eye on the weekly digests from BGU’s student union for school wide race opportunities as well as other fun events!
You can look on the following websites for races:

Spinning/Indoor cycling: BGU has a separate studio for spinning classes and other group fitness classes (zumba, aerobic kickboxing, etc.). It is hidden in the basement of bldg. 72 on the main campus. Classes are held in the evening and an updated schedule (partially in English) can be found at For classes with popular instructors (such as Yaniv for spinning - speaks English), it is recommended to reserve a bike before 2pm the day of the class by calling 08-6472340. Classes are 22 shekels each or you can buy a semester-long pass or a punch card (buy 8 classes get one free). To buy the pass/card you need to bring a letter from a physician stating that you are healthy enough to participate and your blue BGU ID card with a sticker on the back (certifies that you are a member of the student union) to the glass booth in the entrance of the Zlotowski Student Center on the main campus.

Salsa Dancing: There is free Salsa class on Tuesdays (located in the dorms across from the Sports center), and 25 NIS Salsa class on Mondays (in building 72, BGU main campus). Both get going at around 10pm, and afterwards there is free dancing till 1am. The Monday class is better for learning.

Soccer (the Foot-Ball kind): For random pick up, there is a schoolyard on HaMeshahrerim. There's usually a wide range of ages playing, including girls and boys. There's another court on Rabbi Akiva (right next to Metsada) in Schuna Dalet, past the fruit stand. There is also a BGU women’s soccer team that practices a couple nights a week and participates in some tournaments.

Triathlons: There is definitely a thriving triathlon community in Israel. Go to for more info about particular races.

Ultimate Frisbee: There is an active group of Ultimate Frisbee enthusiasts that plays every Wednesday. They are welcoming new players.

Yoga and Dance: You can take Yoga and many other classes such as Pilates, belly dancing, etc. very affordably at BGU. Classes usually take place in Hebrew, but it is a great way to get language skills and do exercise. Classes begin when the rest of BGU starts, usually October. Ask the Israeli liaison or ASRAN representative. There is also a small Yoga studio in Gimel off of Wingate that has great classes. New: The climbing gym (see climbing) has also just started offering yoga for 45 NIS per class or 220 NIS per month. For those more serious about dance, there are two amazing dance companies nearby: Bat Sheva in Tel Aviv, and Adama in Mitzpe Ramon, Adama also operates an affordable youth hostel and is a great place to go relax.