As the saying goes, the best things in life are free. And while fitness influencers and Instagram ads might tell us otherwise, that includes exercise.
If you’re looking for other ways to reduce your expenses this year while focusing on your fitness and health, we have news for you: staying in shape without the gym is totally possible.
That’s because the key to staying fit is do not a gym membership is about consistent, healthy lifestyle choices. And today we’re talking about how to be a more active person through simple, everyday choices.
Without further ado, here are 5 ways to stay in shape, without ever setting foot in the gym.
1. Plan a practice outing with friends
As with any goal, exercise is much easier when you have a buddy, no matter the activity!
If you’re struggling to be active, you don’t have to go it alone, and chances are someone you know is also looking to move more.
Plus, making your daily exercise a group activity will not only make it more enjoyable, but possibly more effective as well!
Research indicates that when we train with a partner, we are more likely to follow our workouts consistently while feeling more motivated and even more confident.
But of course, you’ll need the right training partner – someone with similar goals, availability, and levels of commitment to yours. When you and your training partner share a vision of yourselves, you’ll feel positive and motivated, and ready to crush your workout.
Even better, there are plenty of ways for you and your friends to stay in shape without the gym: try hiking, group yoga, swimming, rock climbing, paddle boarding or even jump rope together!
And when we talk about training with a friend, we can’t forget our four-legged friends! If you’re a dog owner, taking your canine friend for frequent walks isn’t just great exercise, it’s also some one-on-one time for the two of you.
But if you’re not a dog owner, but like the idea of exercising with one (or more), dog walking is a great way to earn some extra cash while by getting quality exercise. Win-win, if you ask us.
2. Find fun (and free!) workouts on YouTube
When it comes to exercise, the Internet is truly a wonderful resource. With just a quick YouTube search, you can easily find a number of different workouts that are both fun and completely free. And if live classes are more your thing, there are plenty of content creators who do live streams, so you can still take advantage of that “classroom” environment.
And with so many ways to work out, there’s bound to be something for you, whether it’s yoga, pilates, weightlifting or even dancing, which brings us to our next method for staying fit without the sport room.
3. Just dance!
Perhaps more than any other type of exercise, dancing is one of the best for reducing stress, improving fitness, and boosting your mood, all at the same time!
In fact, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found evidence showing that dancing benefits both body and mind by encouraging the release of endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin.
According to researchers At the University of California, Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center in Berkeley, Calif., dancing is great for your body and mind because it releases the very chemicals that are good for your brain: dopamine, l oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins.
So if running isn’t your thing, but you’d still like to sweat it out, dancing is a wonderful exercise. And the best thing about dancing is that there really is something for everyone, whether it’s a dance workout on Youtube, a salsa lesson with your partner or even just dancing alone to your favorite playlist.
4. Take the stairs
If a few flights of stairs leave you a little out of breath, you’re not alone. Even for those of us who run 5k regularly, a simple stair climb can actually be quite challenging – so it’s no surprise what a great workout it can be.
This is because when we climb stairs, we essentially take advantage of our own gravity, so the heavier we are, the harder we have to work. So basically it’s a low impact cardiovascular workout that’s automatically tailored to you, for free.
In fact, climbing stairs is fantastic not only for burning fat, but also for building endurance and strength, while toning your thighs, calves, and glutes at the same time. And because climbing stairs is a weight-bearing activity, it can also help build bone strength and is easy on the knees.
As with any workout, aim for quality over quantity and try power workouts that last around 30-40 minutes, working until your heart rate picks up and your muscles start to burn well, and don’t forget freshen up afterwards!
5. Get a standing desk
You may have heard the saying that “sitting is the new smoking“, which argues that prolonged and excessive sitting can potentially harm our health in several ways, such as increasing our risk of neck and back pain, as well as our potential for heart disease, obesity and diabetes, for to name just a few.
And if your work is mostly done in a desk at a desk, that’s not good news.
Fortunately, other solutions are available for this problem, one of the newest being the standing desk.
Just as it sounds, a standing desk is a desk that allows you to work comfortably while standing, which can reduce your sitting time throughout the day.
On top of that, standing desks are usually adjustable, so sitting down becomes more of an option than a requirement.
And although research into the benefits of standing desks is still in its infancy, the evidence points to a number of potential benefits, including reduce your risk of weight gain and obesity, improve mood and energy levelsand reduce back pain.
But if you currently can’t afford a whole new piece of furniture, try turning to simple DIY standing desks that you can fashion yourself. Alternatively, you can swap your office chair for an exercise ball, so even when you’re seated you’re still engaging your muscles and promoting good posture.