I think the longest I ever had a gym membership was for 6 months, and that was only because I did the aerobics classes, I never actually did any weights!
So, you don’t like going to the gym, but you want to exercise, but what do you do? What can you do that will give you the same, consistent results you get from the gym? Great question and one I asked myself when I stopped going to the gym!
Here is a list of the top 7 things you can do to exercise that doesn’t involve putting on tight clothing and strutting your stuff in front of everyone else!
- Enroll in a dance class – any sort of dancing will get the blood pumping and your heart racing. Plus, you get to meet new people! This is my top exercise choice, I dance competitively as well, so on top of “social” dancing, and I also train 3-4 times a week. It is a great way to keep fit and lots of fun. Check your local newspaper for upcoming classes.
- Walking – this one is often overlooked. You pretty much walk somewhere everyday, why not make a more concerted effort and get your arms pumping. I try to walk at least twice a week in between my dancing just so I can get outside and enjoy the sun! If you can walk at least 4-5km’s 3-4 times a week, you will feel much better for it, and best of all, it’s free! You can wear whatever clothing you like, take your ipod with you or walk with a friend, either way, walking is right up there on my list!
- Mow the lawn – this is not my favorite exercise to do, but I know that there are lots of people that get a great sense of satisfaction from mowing the lawns and what you may not know is that when you are pushing the lawn mower, you are giving your biceps and triceps a great work out, plus all the walking you do burns up those calories. Obviously, if you have a ride-on mower, you are defeating the purpose, but if you use a hand held mower, you are well on your way to improving your muscles and cardio fitness.
- Shovel snow – great one for cardio and for your biceps and triceps and also a great way to keep warm! Look at these figures: Loading a shovel with 16 pounds of snow, 12 times per minute, converts to lifting almost 2,000 pounds in a 10 minute period. Do you think that you might just feel the burn doing this?! Most definitely! It is also a great workout for your back, buttocks and thighs. But be warned, this is not a job for the faint hearted. You will need to make sure that you have fuelled up plenty before tackling this job!
- Play with your dog – this is great exercise. Aside from taking the dog for a walk, you can run around your backyard chasing the dog, the dog will take a long time to tire, so a fantastic workout and some good quality time spent with your favorite pet! You could also take your dog down to the local park for some games of “fetch” or take the dog hiking… there are so many things you can do with your dog and not only will you be increasing your fitness, but you will also be keeping your dog fit and healthy, ensuring he/she lives a long time!
- Pilate’s – there are some fantastic videos and DVD’s on Pilate’s and I would recommend Marie Windsor’s videos, they are fantastic. Pilate’s is excellent if you have any condition that stops you from doing cardio exercises as the majority of Pilate’s is completed lying on your back! Using your “powerhouse” you build up your resistance and use your muscles to move parts of your body in a series of moves. You can do this for just 20 minutes a day 4-5 times a week and notice some fantastic results within 2-3 weeks. I do this twice a week just to keep my tummy muscles nice and strong, which I need for my dancing also.
- Use an exercise ball – this is great, especially if you sit at a computer all day. Try replacing your normal chair with the exercise ball and you will find that by the end of the day, your muscles will be aching from keeping yourself balanced on the ball while working! What a great way to multi-task! Aside from this, you can use the exercise ball at home and do various exercises like sit ups, push ups and squats to name a few. These are also pretty cheap and most come with an instructional video for use at home.
So, there you have it, my top 7 non-gym exercises that you can do. The majority of which are free! So, no more excuses. There are so many more things you can do, but these are the ones that I find I consistently stick with and see results from.
Possibly another one that could be put in with walking is running… but that is pretty hard on your knees and I prefer to preserve my body then injure it, but if you want to see fast results, running is definitely right up there, just make sure you invest in some very good shoes!