How to Stay Active and Healthy Without Buying a Gym Membership

    We all live in a world obsessed with gym and health club memberships. If you tell someone that you’re interested in getting into better shape and improving your health, you’ll find that 80% or more of the people you talk with will recommend the gym that they or someone they know uses.

    There are plenty of reasons that one might choose to avoid buying an expensive $100+ per month gym membership: budget concerns, commute time, feeling intimidated by buff fitness and bodybuilding gurus, and many more.

    Check out the tips listed below, which don’t require any investment from you but a little time and discipline.

    Bodyweight Exercises

    A group of people doing squats

    Most people know the basic bodyweight exercises, and generally how to perform them. Do the following exercises during your break at work, while you’re walking to and frough, or when a commercial comes on the television – do them wherever and whenever!

    • Burpees
    • Pushups
    • Squats
    • Lunges
    • Planks
    • Chair/Table Dips
    • Pullups

    If you’re looking for a more in-depth list of bodyweight exercises you can incorporate into your gym-free fitness regimen, check out this comprehensive list of 50 exercises and how to perform them: 50 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere.

    Run Stairs

    Walking up stairs is great exercise. Choose the stairs over the elevator every day. Take your time if you’re worried about catching a sweat before getting to your office on the 10th floor.

    On average, we burn anywhere from 9 – 12 calories every 30 seconds spent climbing stairs at a moderately brisk pace. That’s around 600 calories per hour!

    If you don’t work somewhere with stairs, find a government facility, park, college, or other public building you can visit and put in some “stair time”.

    Chair Exercises

    Chair exercises are great for the home, office, or conference room. If there’s a crowd of people around you, don’t get embarrassed or apprehensive – get them involved too! Everyone can benefit from the extra blood flow and endorphins that a few simple chair exercises offer. Check out this list of 6 Seated Movements That Work the Entire Body.

    Hit the Beach

    No, lying around on a towel catching rays isn’t a form of exercise. However, walking in the sand is great exercise, and it’s something you can do to get your heart rate up and burn extra calories, no matter what your current physical condition. You might be surprised to learn that walking on sand or loose dirt increases energy expenditure 2.7 times over walking on a hard flat surface.

    Find a Sporting Activity

    Friends Are In A Spinning Class

    You’d be hard-pressed to find a community anywhere on this planet that doesn’t have a community baseball, volleyball, basketball, or hockey league that’s open to everyone. Also, you’ll find hiking groups, dragon boaters, cycling clubs, etc., that accept anyone who wants to join.

    Sometimes you’ll be expected to pay a small entry fee or to buy equipment, depending on what activity you’re interested in. Check your local classifieds, community center bulletin board postings, etc. Ask friends and coworkers what they’re involved with.

    Become a Youth Volunteer

    Young couple laughing in the pool

    Children love to be active and will absolutely love playing active games, hiking, swimming, etc. Volunteering with local youth groups puts you in an environment where it’s hard to avoid exercise, especially if you’re interested in being more active to begin with.

    Youth volunteering can also include coaching a youth sport team. By getting involved with coaching, especially a youth sport, you’ll have ample opportunity to get lots of exercise. Try to participate as much as possible. Actively demonstrate techniques and make sure you’re constantly moving about, not just standing/sitting on the sidelines.

    Final Tip: Stop Driving Everywhere!

    When most of us were young, we had to walk or ride our bike to get most of the places we wanted to go. In fact, walking to and from school, the mall, convenience store, movie theater, etc., was often an adventure of sorts, right? We’d get to see people we knew, observe the hustle and bustle of the town or city we lived in, and the fresh air was so invigorating.

    Then, at or around our sixteenth birthday, everything changed. Suddenly that bike or rollerblades seemed much less inviting. Walking became a time-consuming chore. Freedom, in the form of a car, truck, SUV, or motorcycle suddenly became the ONLY mode of transportation.

    Before jumping in your vehicle to go to the corner store for a loaf of bread, bag of milk, or worse – a sugary snack – ask yourself if saving a few minutes is really worth blowing off an opportunity to burn some calories and treat your heart to some exercise.

    Ten minutes here and there really adds up. Most people complain they don’t have the time to walk instead of drive, even though we spend an average of five hours a day watching television (source).

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