You need physical exercise and movement. You know this already. But the thought of entering a gym on a daily basis is enough to make you want to curl up in a ball and plug your ears.
Despite everyone talking about joining gyms and taking yoga or spin classes, there’s no requirement that you have to pay $50 to $100 per month to work out in a stuffy, germ-infested building with people who like staring at themselves in the mirror. You can get exercise anywhere.
How Much Exercise Do You Need?
Daily exercise is important – particularly in an era where we spend so much time sitting. The more sedentary your lifestyle, the more important exercise becomes to remaining healthy. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week.
“We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but it’s not,” the CDC reassures. “That could be 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. The good news is that you can spread your activity out during the week, so you don’t have to do it all at once. You can even break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day.”
In fact, you’re better off splitting it up. Getting two-and-a-half hours of consecutive physical activity isn’t usually realistic (or all that helpful). It’s the spacing between exercise that allows you to get the most benefits possible.
The Problem of Gym Anxiety
If you’re someone who hates the gym, you aren’t alone. You might even suffer from something researchers call “gym anxiety.”
“Maybe you’re afraid of what other people will think of your appearance or abilities. Maybe you have no idea what to do or how to use the equipment, and you feel like people will judge you,” Healthline mentions. “Maybe you’re concerned that it will be too crowded, too germy, or the machines you normally use will be taken. Or maybe you feel uneasy in the locker room dressing next to strangers.”
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, then it’s possible that going to the gym could actually have a negative impact on your emotional health. Understanding these triggers is a good start. But you also need a way of dealing with them.
Most people think the only option is to grit their teeth and go to the gym every day until it gets better. But why do this to yourself? You can make exercise more enjoyable and rewarding by finding the right activity and environment for your personality.
5 Alternative Exercise Options
Listen, there’s nothing wrong with going to the gym. If that’s your deal, then embrace it! There’s plenty of good equipment and it’s a great place to socialize. However, if you’re someone who dreads the gym and has gym anxiety, you should know that there are other options. This includes:
If you’re looking for an inexpensive and accessible way to get some exercise without having to invest in a bunch of expensive equipment or training, try walking or jogging. That might sound like obvious or elementary advice, but just do it!
Anyone, anywhere can start walking for exercise. Whether you live in a city or out in the countryside, you have the ability to put on a pair of shoes and get moving.
Walking and jogging are especially powerful options if you’re someone who likes to maximize your time. Because not only are you able to get exercise, but you can also do other things simultaneously.
For example, you can call friends and catch up while walking. (You can even make sales calls.) And if you’re a jogger, why not load up some educational podcasts and use this time to learn?
Biking is a great option for those who want to move a little faster and see more of the world. You can try street cycling or mountain biking.
Since most people are familiar with road cycling, let’s talk about mountain biking for a minute. This form of exercise is both physically challenging and emotionally rewarding. Not only do you get to exercise, but you get to travel off the beaten path and spend time in nature. It basically allows you to hit a “reset” button in your life.
Would you like to try mountain biking, but don’t want to invest in an expensive bike and lots of gear before seeing if you like it? There are actually some mountain bike rental services that cater to daily or hourly rentals. Click here to learn more.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve swam competitively in your life or not, swimming can provide numerous health benefits when used as part of a standard exercise regimen. It’s basically a total body workout without putting excess pressure on your bones and joints. Benefits include cardiovascular strengthening, endurance, toned muscles, weight loss, stress relief, and improved coordination, balance, and flexibility.
Perhaps you have a pretty big competitive fire deep down inside you. Tennis could be a good option. It’s a really good workout, but can also help quench some of that competitive desire you have. Whether it’s singles or doubles, regular tennis matches provide good cardiovascular benefits and increased dexterity. You can either play casually with friends or join an adult league in your community.
Like the idea of getting out in nature, but don’t necessarily want the intensity of mountain biking? You could always try hiking nearby trails and wilderness areas.
Research shows hiking lowers your risk of heart disease, improves blood pressure levels, boosts bone density, and builds strength in key muscle groupings like your core and legs.
For best results, find a group of people who also enjoy hiking and have a similar skill and fitness level as you. This will make the experience even more enjoyable.
Adding it All Up
If you suffer from gym anxiety – or simply don’t like spending time in a stuffy workout room – it’s reassuring to know that alternative options exist. Whether it’s walking, jogging, biking, swimming, tennis, hiking, or one of the dozens of other sports or activities, you can exercise and stay fit without a gym membership. Make it happen!