Home Articles Rethinking Fitness: Alternative Ways to Stay in Shape Beyond the Gym

Rethinking Fitness: Alternative Ways to Stay in Shape Beyond the Gym


It’s a common misconception that physical fitness is exclusive to the four walls of a gym. However, not everyone resonates with this conventional fitness pathway. Many find it boring, restrictive, or simply inaccessible. Thankfully, there are plenty of other options for those who want to stay healthy and fit.

Reasons to Pursue Alternative Fitness Options

Are you “anti-gym?” There are several reasons why you might not want to join a gym, including:

  • Cost is always a big one. While location and amenities are huge factors, you can expect to pay at least $40 or $50 per month on a gym membership. (Sometimes, it’s over $100.) That comes out to $500 – $1,200 per year in membership dues. For many people, that’s just not feasible.
  • Working out in front of other people can be intimidating, regardless of whether you’re out of shape or fairly fit. In a gym, you might be shoulder to shoulder with other people.
  • Getting to your gym can be a challenge – especially if you’re trying to get a workout in after work when there’s rush hour traffic.
  • If you’re someone who spends eight to ten hours per day working inside, the last thing you want to do is spend another 60 minutes in a gym. You’d rather be outside getting some sunshine and fresh air.

3 Ways to Get in Shape Without a Gym Membership

Whatever the case may be, a gym membership is not your only option. There are plenty of other ways to stay fit. Here are a few:

  • Outdoor Sports and Activities

If you just want to get outside and exercise, there are dozens of sports and activities available to try. Here are four of the most popular ones:

  • Rowing. Ever considered rowing? Maybe you should. According to Sparks Rowing, “It’s one of those sports that most people overlook. However, it might be one of the best workouts you can get outside of a gym. Not only is it great cardio, but it’ll tone up your muscles, too. Then there’s the social side of joining a local rowing club.”
  • Hiking. This is another sport that’s great for cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and mental well-being. It’s especially nice if you’re looking for an activity to help you reconnect with nature.
  • Cycling. Hopping on your bike and cycling around town is beneficial for a number of reasons, including lower impact on joints, improved cardiovascular fitness, and the ability to cover longer distances.
  • Swimming. For many of the same reasons that people choose cycling, swimming is great for your entire body. It doesn’t hurt your joints and is great for overall body conditioning.
  • At-Home Fitness

For those who prefer the convenience and privacy of working out at home, there are numerous at-home fitness options available that can help you stay in shape without stepping foot in a gym. This saves you time and helps you conveniently fit exercise into your daily schedule.

When it comes to at-home fitness, there are plenty of resources available. You can make up your own body-weight workouts, invest in some home gym equipment, watch YouTube instructional workouts, or even find a workout app that you like. Virtual trainers are also an option.

If you do invest in equipment, good options to have on hand include dumbbells, resistance bands, pull-up bars, exercise balls, and yoga mats.

  • Martial Arts

Martial arts is not only a form of self-defense but also an excellent option for staying fit and healthy. It combines physical activity, mental focus, and discipline, making it a well-rounded fitness choice.

Martial arts training pretty much gives you what trainers would call a “full-body workout.” Practicing techniques like kicks, strikes, and punches requires your entire body to be in sync. This promotes flexibility, endurance, and strength. (You might not put on a bunch of muscle, but you’ll certainly get toned up.) Then there’s the cardiovascular benefits of high-intensity drills, like sparring.  (And we haven’t even touched on the mental/discipline side of things.)

You should be able to find a martial arts gym somewhere in your city. However, there are also online classes that allow you to compete from home.

Don’t Let the Gym Hold You Back

Millions of people work out at gyms every day. But if you don’t like the gym environment, don’t let it be a stumbling block to your health. Find something that works and stay in shape! Your health and quality of life depend on it!