If you were to ask the average person the one thing that they would like to change about themselves, the chances are pretty high that they will tell you they would like to improve their fitness. Many of us have the best intentions to avail of the endless list of benefits that come with regular exercise, but in practice often find ourselves faced with barriers that hold us back. Sometimes life manages to get in the way of making better decisions, or maybe you have slipped into some bad habits and don’t know how to break them and make the changes needed to get fit.
Although going to the gym is something that many people enjoy, some of us prefer not to, for various reasons. Perhaps you find it uninspiring to work out in a gym environment, or maybe you feel self-conscious or intimated using the equipment in that kind of environment. Some of us can’t afford to or simply don’t want to spend money each month on gym membership costs when we know we won’t make good enough use of them. Hitting the gym regularly is undoubtedly not something that appeals to everyone, but this doesn’t need to stop you from taking care of your health and fitness. Here are some fun ways to improve your fitness without needing to set foot inside a gym.
Add exercise to your daily routine
Probably the easiest and cheapest way to improve your fitness is to add extra activity to your daily routine. Making easy swaps in your daily routine will help you to get your fitness on track and allows you to build your level of activity at your own pace. Simple things, such as walking or cycling to work instead of driving, will make a big difference. Sitting all day has been proven to be detrimental to health, so instead of staying seated at your desk at lunchtime, why not go for a brisk walk around the block or to the park? This also applies if you work from home, and has the added benefit of boosting those energy levels and avoiding the after lunch slump. Even doing household chores can be a pretty good workout if you decide to treat it that way! Try doing walking lunges while vacuuming, doing squats while folding laundry or cleaning the lower cupboards, or calf raises while standing at the sink washing up or doing the ironing. Each of these simple changes will significantly increase the number of steps that you walk every day, and help you to get fitter, more toned and burn more calories in the process.
Instead of spending the weekends binge-watching another TV series, get out and about in the fresh air while the weather is still reasonable. Taking a long walk in your local park or heading out into the countryside to explore nature is an excellent way to get fit and reap mental benefits too. As the weather cools down, this can be even more comfortable than hiking or walking around in the hot summer sun.
Join a team or club
If you loved to play team sports growing up, you’ll know how exciting it is to be a part of a club and the sense of camaraderie that it brings. Why not bring some of that excitement back into your life as an adult and get fit at the same time? Try to match your choice of team sport with your interests, as that will help you to stay motivated and enthusiastic about taking part. If you love football, for example, joining a local football team is an excellent way to get fit. Just remember to take it a little slow to begin with, as your fitness levels are unlikely to match those of your favourite football players right off the bat. After a few weeks of training and playing, you are sure to notice a significant difference in your fitness levels and have the built-in motivation to keep up your new healthy lifestyle.
Set yourself a challenge
Setting yourself a challenge is an excellent way to motivate yourself to improve your fitness without needing to hit the gym. Try to make it achievable however, otherwise, it’s all too easy to lose motivation and give up before you’ve even started. Setting yourself a challenge is an excellent way to keep yourself focused and to build up your fitness gradually. There are plenty of great fitness apps out there that let you record and track your progress and this can be really motivating.
Take care to make sure that your challenge isn’t too demanding at the beginning. Pushing yourself too hard before you are ready can not only be discouraging to progress but also put you at risk of injuring yourself.
Signing up for a charity event such as a sponsored run or sponsored walk is also a great way to motivate yourself to improve your fitness, and running or walking in your neighbourhood or local park to train is free! Plus, as well as building your fitness, you’ll also be helping out a good cause and can encourage others to join and improve their health alongside you.
You can also take part in monthly challenges that you find online, even with friends or family for extra motivation and benefit for everyone involved. Keeping fit without a gym can be challenging, but if you make it fun and get creative, then it doesn’t have to be!