If you’re like me who knows perfectly well that she needs to exercise but isn’t very keen on going to the gym for various reasons (not related to muscle pain and inhaling the smell of other people’s sweat, I swear!), this is the blog for you.
Don’t get me wrong. I know I need exercise to keep fit so I found some smart physical activities that work for me, are relatively easy to do—and don’t involve a sweaty gym.
Widely considered the perfect physical activity, swimming is the best way to get a full-body workout.
And why not?
It pumps up more major muscle groups than any other form of cardio workout. When you swim, your whole body is engaged: your legs, upper body, core, your middle back, your triceps.
Swimming also benefits your lungs. My brother (when he was younger) used to suffer from serious asthma attacks and was advised by his doctor to take up swimming as it essentially exercises and strengthens the lungs. He grew to love the sport, and while his asthma never went away, he no longer suffered from debilitating asthma attacks.
I like the fact that swimming can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors, is essentially low risk, and is an important survival skill to have. But best of all, it’s just so much fun to do…and doesn’t involve sweating at all! *innocent smile
2. Brisk walking, jogging or running
People (ahem) are always searching for excuses not to exercise but here’s an easy choice: brisk walking. Another activity that can be performed both indoors (using a treadmill) and outdoors, it can help you manage your weight, strengthen muscles and bones, lift your mood, and enhance your balance and coordination.
If you find you have some extra energy and motivation, you can swap brisk walking for either jogging or running. Naturally, the more you do, the more calories you burn so shifting to jogging or running gives you the opportunity to burn more calories, if you choose to do so.
I’m not necessarily talking about commuting by bike here as that may not be an option for everyone. Of course, if you live and work in a place where you can cycle to work or school—instead of driving or taking the bus or train—that would be perfect!
But for now, let’s talk about bicycling purely for exercise. Another physical activity that can be done both indoors (stationary) and outdoors, bicycling strengthens your bones, improves your flexibility and mobility, enhances your cardiovascular fitness, and even helps decrease body fat. Plus, it’s an enjoyable activity so it will certainly lift your spirits!
I’m probably going to hear a whimper of protest from those who think they have two left feet—but hear me out. Dancing is a fantastic way for people of all ages to get in shape and stay in shape! And it doesn’t matter if you’re not that good at it!
You don’t have to be a practiced dancer to dance. I mean, you’re not really dancing to compete in Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, are you?
And while it would be awesome to enroll in a dance class, I think you could just start at home. There are so many dance tutorials on YouTube you can follow and enjoy. It truly can be a lot of fun. Take it from someone who shimmies and shuffles around the house when no one’s watching!
5. Jumping rope
Rope jumping enhances your coordination, burns calories, and improves cardiovascular health.
To be honest, I’ve had a jump rope for years now but I’ve only started using it recently. I was hesitant to try it because I’m not exactly light-footed and I thought it would be painful yet boring exercise (it’s repetitive).
Boy, was I wrong! You actually don’t need to be particularly agile to make it work. And it’s an effective calorie burner!
There are numerous other physical activities you can engage in as an alternative to going to the gym. Some of your daily routines could, in fact, be maximized for exercise. Performing regular chores around the house—mowing the lawn, washing your car, walking the dog, cleaning the house, etc.—are examples of physical activities you can get involved in that would help you get in [better] shape.
What about you? Can you share with me your preferred physical activities sans going to the gym? Let’s talk about them!
Disclaimer: We advise that you consult a physician prior to embarking on any exercise program.