No Gym Required

by Anne Middleton, on January 15th, 2016

New Year’s resolutions are insanely difficult to keep. In fact, the Washington Post revealed data that showed “25% of us don't stick with it for seven measly days.”

Last year, Americans made weight loss their number one resolution for the New Year and it is sure to top the list again this year. 

Common sense tells us that any successful weight loss program requires you get off the couch and out of your cubicle and move your body. Many rely on gym membership for exercise.

But what if you have obstacles to joining a gym?  For some, a gym membership is simply too expensive, or the gym is not in a convenient location, or maybe you're just the independent type who would rather not sweat in front of a group of people.

Fear not! A workout for any level of fitness can be easily accessible right in your own home or neighborhood. Yes!  You can exercise without a gym!

Heart health begins with moving your body. And when it comes to the best form of exercise, experts say good old-fashion walking is the best.

One of the greatest, most efficient cardiovascular workouts is simply walking. Walking is an extremely efficient cardiovascular workout and best of all, no gym is required. Walking can be done just about anywhere:

• If you work, walk during your lunch break if at all possible

• If the weather is bad, you can actually walk in place in your living room to fitness DVD or just some fun, energizing music

• Walking helps people of every fitness level…add more intensity by increasing your pace and by running up and down a set of steps

Not a fan of walking?  You can still get your heart pumping and exercise without a gym. Try these other options:

Hiking, especially with friends or your faithful pet by your side

Rock Climbing at any level…you’ll be amazed at the feeling of accomplishment when you reach the top

Dancing – hip hop, swing, ballroom….all types of dancing will elevate your heart rate without the need for a gym

Join a recreational league – If you love people, but despise the structure of gym classes, join a kickball, flag football, bowling or softball league.  You get to exercise and it’s a great way to meet new people

Bike to work – not only will your heart thank you, you’ll also save money on gas and help the earth

Want to increase your strength?  Who needs a gym?

To strengthen your legs, you can use a wall to perform squats. Just slowly slide your back down a wall until the thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure the knees are directly above the ankles and keep the back straight. Go for 60 seconds per set (or however long it takes to turn those legs to jelly). Ten reps is a good starting goal.

Arm exercises without weights.  Think you can’t tone your flabby arms without holding onto weights?  Think again.

Push-ups. Every strength training class at a gym includes push-ups.  Standard push-ups are a classic exercise. They can be modified to accommodate every level of fitness and can be done in the privacy of your home. Can’t do push-ups with straight legs?  Try them on your knees.  Problem getting down on your knees for a push-up?  Start with push-ups against a wall.

Arm Circles. Those arm exercises without weights that you did in high school gym class are surprisingly good at building upper body strength without the need to dress in your embarrassing school shorts.

Tricep Dips will help firm up those flabby underarms without the use of weights.  They’re a little tough, but stick with it and you will surely see results

Pull-Ups. This exercise is on my bucket list.  I still have yet to conquer the art of pull-ups, but I am aware that this evasive arm exercise done without weights quickly strengthens the muscles in your arms, chest, shoulders and sides of the back.

There are dozens of ways to exercise without a gym.  The trick is to find something you enjoy that you can easily build into your lifestyle so that it easily becomes part of your routine.