Brazil can look like the land of the beautiful people and while many athletic activities center on things that fit in to a beach bum's lifestyle, there are a variety of athletics to participate in.
Gyms in Brazil can be quite expensive compared to the cost of living. Costing around $85-200 US a month, pool access can be an additional cost.
Academia City Gym- www.citygym.com.br - 21 2533-7264
Academia Center Gym- www.bodyupclub.com - 21 2221-9778
Citrus Gym- 21 2524-0305
Academia Marques Gym- www.marquesgym.com.br- 21 3274-6794
As far as organized sports, the most popular sport is football. Practically everyone is involved in playing the game from a young age all the way to being an adult, passionate sports fans. Football quickly became a passion for Brazilians, who often refer to Brazil as "o país do futebol" ("the football country"). Over 10,000 Brazilians play professionally at home and all over the world. Games can break out anywhere with any odd assortment of supplies making up a match. For more serious players, there are a multitude of commercial soccer complex's in which you can sign-up for league play, or join in a random game.
The dance/sport/martial arts mix of capoeira is very popular and unique to Brazil. Created by slaves brought from Africa sometime after the sixteenth century, it has been intermittently illegal. It is extremely athletic and has many different regional styles. Mestre Bimba is responsible for much of capoeira's success. In 1937 he founded the first academy and took it from the slums to all of Brazil.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a form of martial arts that focuses on grappling and ground fighting. Derived from the Japanese martial art of Kodokan Judo, there are now many schools teaching this form within Brazil.
A fun and popular beach sport is frescobol. A kind of beach tennis, the game consists of 2 paddles and a rubber ball. The objective of the game is to work with your partner to keep the ball from hitting the ground. The better you and your partner get, the faster you can hit the ball back and forth.
Copacabana is among the beast areas in which to surf. Beware- the sea can be rough and dangerous. Many of the best surfers from around the world come to Brazil to challenge themselves.
Diving is another way to enjoy the lovely beaches. Most hotels can recommend a local center.
Here are just a few:
Ocean Diving Center
R. Alvaro Alvim, 24 Sl. 705 Centro
Rio de Janeiro
Tel: +55 21 2524 4000
Shop 5, Av Atauflo de Paiva 1174
Tel: +55 21 2239 5105
Yachting off the coast of Brazil can be an elegant and athletic experience. The main yacht clubs are in the Botafogo area that extends halfway between Copacabana and the center of town. High society congregates at the ritziest club, the Rio Yacht club. Most yacht clubs are fairly exclusive.
For a guide to beaches: www.rio-de-janeiro.info/rio-beach
Away from the beach, rock climbing is another option. From easy boulder climbing to highly technical big wall climbs, there are many opportunities to climb within city. Sugar Loaf is not only a spectacular tourist attraction, this granite mountain has several climbing routes from the easy 3rd grade to the extremely difficult 9th grade (5.13/8b), up to 280 metres.
Brazil's most popular sport, football, is represented by five traditional Brazilian football clubs: América Football Club, Botafogo, Fluminense, Vasco da Gama and Flamengo. Flamengo is the team with the largest number of supporters in the world according to FIFA.
The International Olympic Committee selected Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. There have been failed bids in 1936, 2004 and 2012. Rio would become the first Brazilian and South American city to host the games.
As part of its preparations to host the 2007 Pan American Games, Rio built a new stadium, Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, to hold 45,000 people. It was named after Brazilian ex-FIFA president João Havelange. The stadium is owned by the City of Rio de Janeiro, but it is rented to Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas for 20 years.
Maracana football Stadium is the site of football matches year round. The stadium is one of the largest football stadium in the world accommodating up to 200,000 spectators. Major football clubs like Flamengo, Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco da Gama play their matches here.
Rio de Janeiro has an indoor, multi-purpose arena, the HSBC Arena. The Olympic Arena is set to host the basketball and gymnastics events of the 2016 Summer Olympics. It also is used for concerts for performers from around the world.
Horse racing events are held at the Hipódromo do Jockey Club Brasileiro from Thursday evening until Sunday afternoon. More information at (21) 3534-9000.