We all know exercise protects against diabetes, cancers, and heart disease and helps us cope with stress and become more agile. But many people associate exercise with spending tedious hours using boring machines in a gym. This is a relatively new idea, since for most of humanity’s existence exercise was simply part of everyday life. So here are ten ways to exercise without going to a gym. Naturally, start with easy and natural exercise and gradually build up to more ambitious movements, and check with your doctor first if you have any health concerns.
Walking the dog for an hour is a great way to exercise, and you can easily burn around 200 calories. Walking without a dog burns just as many calories of course. If you are too unfit to walk long distances, try walking along the same route each day and gradually increase the distance. Walking short distances several times a day also helps and is easy to achieve by routinely parking some distance away from where you’re going and walking the rest of the way, or getting off the bus a stop or two early.
Climbing stairs or steep hills is a great exercise for improving your fitness level, so seek out opportunities for climbing. For example, if you’re parking in a multi-level parking station, drive up to the highest level and use the stairs. Get to know where the stairs are in your local shopping mall, and use them when you can. If you are unfit, start by climbing a few steps and then returning back down. Add an extra step or two every time, and you will soon be making it to the top.
Playing is not just for children! If children are playing, join in and have some fun. Playground equipment is ideal for strengthening muscles and improving your overall agility and fitness, and so is playing without equipment. Join the kids in a game of backyard soccer, or baseball, for example.
There are many opportunities around the house and garden for carrying things. Carry the laundry outside and hang the clothes out to dry, or carry buckets of water and hand-water your plants. Use a backpack or carry a bag when you go for walks to increase the exercise value, or walk to the shops and carry your full shopping bags back. You can also use everyday objects such as plastic bottles full of water as dumbbells for weight lifting.
Activities such as raking, mowing and digging will all burn calories and increase your fitness level. Being outdoors also brings you fresh air and sunshine as well, which will boost your vitamin D levels and improve your immune system.
Cleaning the house, garage, or shed provides great opportunities for exercise. Sweeping, washing windows, vacuuming carpets, decluttering, and tidying up all use a range of muscle groups and can be aerobic if you do them vigorously. To increase the exercise value and make it more fun, put on some music and move to it as you clean.
Most people today spend far too much time sitting down, and so standing and moving when you can are simple ways of getting out of the sitting position and burning more calories. If you use a computer at home, try rigging up a standing workstation, or set a timer and get up every 20 minutes or so to remind you to get up and move.
If you can run, use every opportunity you can find to do so. Run to the phone, for example, run around the house, run out to the garden, or do some jogging around the block or in a local park or reserve. If you are reasonably fit, you could even try parkour (free running) and add a few easy obstacles to your run, or try out some parkour conditioning exercises such as running on all fours.
Dancing is fun, and an excellent way to exercise. Tap dancing, for example, gives you a great aerobic workout, or you could try ballroom or square dancing, or jazz ballet. If you do not want to go to a class or join a dancing group, you can always put on some music and dance on your own at home (or combine dancing with housework).
- Borrow or buy an exercise DVD.
If you want a regular exercise routine without going to a gym, there are plenty of exercise DVDs you can borrow from the library or buy. This works best if you set a regular time and stick to it.
These ten ways to exercise without going to a gym are all free or cheap, and give you the opportunity to get some exercise every day.