6 Ways To Stay Fit And Healthy Without Going To The Gym

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

 

Jim Rohn

Exercise is something I’ve struggled with my whole life. It always felt more like a chore than something that I would benefit from.

Truth be told, I’ve never been a fan of the word ‘exercise’.

I’ve never been a fan of going to the gym either.

The thought of waking up at the crack of dawn to drive to a building that wreaks of rotting bodies and smelly socks, paying a monthly fee to ride a stationary bike or have someone screaming into my ear to do another push up until I almost want to puke, just doesn’t entice me one bit.

Being the “biggest” child in my family, seemed to have given my family members the right to greet me with a pinch me on the cheeks while calling me “Fay Doot Doot” (meaning Chubby Cheeks, in Cantonese).

Then after hitting my teenage years and struggling with body image, I became obsessed with exercising – but not for the right reasons.

I got sucked into the “Thin is In” movement and one summer lost so much weight, my period stopped altogether. It’d be a year before I’d see Aunt Flow again.

Our body is not designed to sit for hours on end. It’s a truly remarkable and complex system that when kept strong and able can become our greatest tool towards a healthy and happy life.

It keeps us youthful, and prevents us from stress, injury, chronic disease and many other issues as we age.

Benefits Of Regular Physical Movement

Here are just a few of the incredible benefits that regular exercise offer that can improve nearly every aspect of your health from the inside out:

  • Combats stress, promotes better sleep and activates the immune system
  • Aerobic exercise benefits cardiovascular health
  • Builds and maintains strong muscles and bones
  • Increases energy levels
  • Slow and mindful practices like yoga and tai chi help to decrease blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol
  • Supports brain health and cognition to balance our stress responses
  • Reduces inflammatory disorders like lupus
  • Improves our mood and decreases feelings of anxiety, depression and stress
  • Helps with weight loss

The thing is, if you don’t enjoy the activity, then chances are you won’t keep it up.

You’ll find every excuse under the sun to not continue.

It’s taken me years to find what physical movements work for me. There’s no point pushing yourself to the limit doing a 6-week intensive exercise regime and eating foods you don’t like.

Once it ends (if you make it to the end), you won’t stick with it and you’re more likely to gain more weight in the process and feel worse than before you started.

Best to find something you like and enjoy doing.

Today, just because you won’t find me in the gym doesn’t mean I don’t benefit from regular physical movement, a phrase I much prefer using.

Over the years, I’ve learned to find fun ways of moving my body, working my muscles and strengthening my body-mind connection, which is vital to optimal well-being.

6 Ways To Keep Fit Without Going To The Gym:

1. Walking

I accomplish so many things with this simple exercise. While strutting around the neighbourhood, I take in fresh air and the world around me while listening to my audio books, great tunes or even a walk-to-get-fit audio workout. And if I pump it up a notch, I can really get my heart rate up and improve my cardiovascular health. If you don’t like to walk alone, buddy up with a friend or join a local walking group. This is a great way to get fit and socialize at the same time.

2. Online Fitness Videos

Although I’m not a fan of group gym exercises, I do enjoy working out in the privacy of my own home. Ditching the gym for my living room works for me because I don’t have to drive anywhere to work out with people I don’t particularly want to work out with; I’m not stuck with a trainer and/or exercise routine that I’m not fond of; and after the sweat sesh, I can easily jump in the shower and be out within a few minutes. And all in the comfort of my own home.

I especially love doing online training first thing in the morning. What’s also great is that I can select the trainer I want to work out with that day. There are literally thousands of free online exercise videos you can choose from on YouTube.

The thing is, if I only feel like working out for 5 minutes to tone my abs, then I can select the workout specifically for that area. I can also mix and match the type of workout depending on how I feel that day. If I’m a bit tired, I may choose a shorter routine that’s not as intense. Or if I’m feeling like really bursting out into a sweat, I’ll choose a HIIT (high intensity interval training) routine that gets me pumped up. All of these workouts get my heart rate up and sets my metabolism going to burn calories for the entire day. It helps me to distress and clear my mind. And I don’t have to drive anywhere or pay any monthly fees to reap the benefits. Here are some free online fitness sites that I recommend: Lucy Wyndham-Read, PopSugar Fitness, Heather Robertson and 7 Minute Tabata.

3. Bike Riding

I was never a real fan of cycling until I had kids. Then biking became an essential mode of transportation – to get to the splash pad, library, school and shops. I like to mix it up some days and ride on the trails and include evening bike rides with the family around the neighbourhood. You’d be surprised just how fast a 20 minute bike ride can go by. And you don’t need an agenda either. Just hop on your bike and get moving.

4. Jumping On The Trampoline

Rebound exercise is an excellent way to get the heart rate up without putting stress on your joints. You don’t need a family size trampoline to get you started either. Mini-trampolines are cheap and easy to store (under the bed or in the closet). You can pull it out for a quick bounce on your lunch break or while waiting for the dinner to cook.

5. Skipping Rope

After finding my old skipping rope in the garage one summer, I’ve rediscovered how fun this physical activity is. I remember as a child being able to do this all afternoon. Now, I can only manage about 5 minutes of continuous skipping before needing to collapse on the ground. I also made a game of it with my daughter to see if we can both skip to 100 together. It’s a real intense workout, no matter how slow you skip.

6. Yoga And Meditation

I especially love these slow, calming exercises after a stressful day. I try to meditate first thing in the morning for about 5 minutes and again before bed to relax the mind and prepare myself to start the day or a good night’s sleep. Yoga also helps to keep me flexible and improve my posture. I recommend Yoga with Adriene.

Remember that true health involves a combination of clean eating, and daily movement to clean your body and calm the mind.

Find what works for you and have fun!

 

What do you do to keep physically moving every day?