A membership is too expensive. The drive is just too long. You can’t stand being seen in your gym clothes, or working up a sweat surrounded by people. Whatever the reason (and there are plenty of reasons to be had!) the gym just isn’t for you. But with spring around the corner, there’s no excuse to let your health go! Below are some great gym alternatives to stay active and at the top of your game.
Yoga may be a great form of relaxation and stress relief, but don’t underestimate its athletic qualities. Covering a wide range of speeds, intensities, and environments (hot yoga, anyone?), yoga targets flexibility and strength. Although a full-body workout, yoga remains low-impact to avoid strain your joints. Outside, inside, with a class, or solo, yoga is highly adaptable to a busy schedule and a full life.
If “pool day” brings to mind lounging at the water’s edge, think again. Swimming is considered one of the best workouts for building muscle, burning calories, and increasing metabolism. Why is that? Water. Taking exercise into the water brings not only relief to your joints, but a resistance workout to your muscles. Between the variety of strokes, swimmers can target specific muscle groups and maintain balanced workouts through one exercise. As for convenience: You only need one outfit to swim! A quick shower afterwards and you’re ready to face the rest of the day.
If the benefits of this option aren’t self explanatory, allow me to explain. First off, these classes tend to be widely available: They are offered free through local colleges, community centers, or taught privately by trainers or self-defense gyms. Self-defense also holds the huge plus of combining exercise with safety. Helping you to build confidence, skill, muscle, and (more often than not) a close group of peers — and these are just some of the key advantages of self-defense courses.
Hiking, along with athletic perks, is a highly flexible and advantageous option. Nearly anywhere you are — small town or big city — there are hiking trails within range. Beyond convenience, hiking allows for social engagement while working up a sweat. Invite friends or even set a regular time to meet up. Try out new spots, test your intensity — you can even walk the dog while you’re at it!
Especially as warmer weather approaches, rock climbing is a great skill to pick up. In addition to strengthening muscle, flexibility, and endurance, rock climbing offers a lot to enhance your emotional and mental state. Problem-solving, high-level consciousness, and stress management all play into this workout, leaving you focused, refreshed, and maybe a little bit sore! For beginners, climbing walls and rock climbing courses may be offered at gyms, colleges, and community centers.
Saving the most fun for last, dance has great potential as a workout! Dance is a cardio-based workout: Improving heart health, burning calories, and releasing endorphins. Even better, those mood-improving chemicals allow you to burn off energy without the grueling exhaustion of a run on the treadmill. Between Swing, Zumba, or even Social Freestyle, dancing offers plenty of flexibility (yes, even for beginners) to fit a workout into a busy day.
Going to the gym doesn’t have to be your thing. There are SO many options out there to give your body an opportunity to get moving. Find one that keeps you interested, entertained, and coming back for more!