25 Fun Ways to Get Fit and Stay Healthy Without a Gym – Easy and Actionable!
It’s the little things that you do each day that add up to being healthy and fit. While we do what we can to be as health-conscious as we can, it is always a work in progress since there are many elements to a healthy lifestyle. Use these tips as a guide on your journey on the path to good health.
Let’s get started!
Every pound of muscle you add can help burn an extra 45 calories per day. So if you beeline it for the weight room and pack on 10 pounds of lean muscle, then your body can continue to torch 450 calories daily well after you’ve left the gym, even if you’re chained to a desk for most of the day. At that rate, you can lose almost a pound of fat per week.
Kick Your Bad Habits
Well, some of them at least. The other ones you might just be able to cut back on. Habits in the “quit” category would be smoking, drugs, unsafe sex and other unhealthy addictions. There’s just no way to do any of these in a “healthy” way. It might take some time, but it’s worth it if you want to lead a healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, there are some habits that are not so bad, but can easily become a problem if taken too far. These include alcohol, sugar, caffeine and junk food. These things in moderation or on a “once-in-a-while” basis are doable, as long as the majority of your choices are mindful and healthful.
Never Stop Moving
You get off your high horse now, Ms. I Work Out Five Times a Week. A new study shows that women who regularly exercise (an average of 2 and a half hours a week) still spend too much time sitting—about 63 percent of their day. So even if you’re active, you might be sedentary too. One way around this is to embrace restless behavior. An unrelated study found that if you stand, pace, and tap your toes often, you can burn 350 calories a day—or drop 30 to 40 pounds a year just from fidgeting!
Throwing a leg on a bench and reaching for your toes is not a great warm-up. If you’re getting ready to run or bike, try firing up your muscles and boosting your heart rate and blood flow with some dynamic stretching: Pull one knee to your chest while standing, then alternate for a few reps on each side. Next kick each leg back and forth one at a time, slowly increasing speed to improve your range of motion, which will make the activity easier.
Get into the Swing of Things
Drop the dumbbells and become best friends with a kettlebell. Since your stabilizer muscles have to work harder to wield a weight that isn’t evenly distributed, you burn more calories (almost 300 in 20 minutes!) using it.
Stop Hitting Snooze
When the choice is staying warm and sleeping later under your soft comforter or rising to face a cold, dark, winter morning workout, your bed often wins the battle. Revive your up-and-at-’em motivation with the Philips Wake-up Light ($140, philips.com). This unique bulbous bedside lamp simulates a warmly lit sunrise using an LCD light that gradually brightens at the same rate as a real sunrise. Natural sounds of birds chirping in the faux a.m. glow will ease you into your day feeling refreshed, calm, and ready to go hop on your bike, sweat through TRX class, or do a total-body bodyweight workout.
Turn Chores into a Workout
Tackling your chores and burning calories at the same time? Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
The key to turning your cleaning activities into a workout is focusing on the ones that have the highest calorie burn, like scrubbing the tub or vacuuming. To get yourself in the right mindset, throw on your sneakers and put on some upbeat music. If you want a real challenge, do some push-ups or squats every time a new song starts to play.
Volunteering for a community-service project, such as building a home with Habitat for Humanity or cleaning up a park or other green space, is a great way to add some activity to your day while improving your community at the same time.
If you spend the whole day moving around, it definitely counts as a workout!
One of the best things about yoga is that you need only your body and a mat to do it. There are tons of online yoga workouts that demonstrate the poses, so you can try pretty much any kind of yoga without leaving the comfort of your own home.
Taking just 15 minutes a day to do a little yoga will help keep you closely connected to your mission, whether that’s taking care of your family, getting promoted at work, or improving your overall health. And you really can do it in any spot (even arm balances on a pool table!)
Go Vegan Till Dinner
Take a cue from The New York Times food writer and bestselling cookbook author Mark Bittman, and try to have at least two meals each day without any animal protein. Bittman did this for three or four months and lost 35 pounds, normalized his blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and completely eliminated his sleep apnea.
Ask If Your Doc Runs
Studies show that runners are more satisfied with their physicians if they share their passion for pounding pavement or trails. If an injury develops, you will be more inclined to see your physician if he or she understands how important running is to you.
I Love Singing
When 44-year-old Kathleen Dolan of Columbus, OH, needed help powering through her first Iroman, she sang Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” in her head over and over again. During her darkest race-day moment—when she almost drowned during the swim—she feverishly repeated her favorite line from the song: “You can stand me up at the gates of hell and I won’t back down.” Find a phrase or mantra that resonates with you and use it to find courage and motivation during your toughest workouts and races.
Eat for Healthy Feet
Don’t let athlete’s foot keep you from hitting the gym. Adding one to two chopped garlic cloves to your meals daily can help stave off the fungal skin infection that causes uncomfortable redness, itching, and cracking, because of the flavorful bulb’s antimicrobial properties. Adding garlic to your diet may speed up your metabolism to boot.
Drink All Day
If you wait to drink until you’re thirsty, it’s too late: You’re already dehydrated. For every 2 percent of dehydration, you lose 10 percent performance. The solution isn’t to over-drink, as that can just wash out necessary electrolyte solutes. Instead think consistent hydration, and aim to drink six to eight ounces every 15 to 30 minutes throughout the day.
Choose the Right Ride
For your first bike, focus on comfort (how long do you plan to ride on average?) and whether you want skinny (road) or fat (dirt) tires, or to have the best of both terrains on a hybrid bike. A good, clean, reliable bike shop (check Yelp for suggestions) will help you make these decisions and will also tweak the bike to fit you well. Lastly consider your budget. Cost is always a factor, but if you put it first, you may end up with an ill-fitting bike that doesn’t meet your functionality needs.
Cut Calories from Chicken
Cooking up skinless poultry for dinner is an affordable, easy, and fast way to get in quality muscle-building protein. To make it even better for you, skip the swirl of oil and use a tablespoon of water to coat your non-stick pan instead. Cover with a lid and let the chicken steam, then flavor with herbs and spices for a perfectly guilt-free meal.
See the Up Side, Down
Bring your heart above your head regularly. The usefulness of yoga inversions extends not only to the health of the physical body—it may reduce fatigue, increase vitality, and even slow aging—but also to mental tranquility and spiritual growth.
Rock the Oat
You know better than to skip breakfast and risk noshing on extra calories throughout the day. And while oatmeal is a great way to start your morning, you should always aim for balance in every meal. For a little protein and healthy fat, add slivered almonds, and for some fruit, throw in fresh or frozen berries or raisins.
Create Your Own Bootcamp
Bootcamp-style workouts are a lot of fun. Who doesn’t love a challenge? You can create your own by doing strength and cardio exercises at home or outside at a park—all you need is a good pair of sneakers!
Try this circuit: jumping jacks, lunges, high knees, push-ups, triceps dips (off a bench or curb), and sit-ups. Do each exercise for 60 to 90 seconds; rest in between exercises as needed. Repeat the whole thing two or three times.
Join a Team
Sometimes dragging yourself to the gym can be, well, a drag. How about signing up for an adult sports league? Sports quite literally make a game out of working out, so you’ll get your heart rate up, burn calories, and have a good time doing it.
If you already missed the chance to sign up for a team, offer to be an alternate. When the season gets going and schedules get busy, teams often need extra players, so you’ll be the first person they call.
Traveling in Your Own City
Walking is an easy way to stay in shape because it requires only a pair of supportive shoes and it’s something you can do pretty much anywhere.
A fun way to spice up your workout is by signing up for a walking tour of your city or nearby historic area. You can learn something new while fitting in a workout!
Register for an Obstacle-course Race
Obstacle races, such as Rugged Maniac and Warrior Dash, are becoming ever more popular because they combine fitness with fun and adventure.
Participants climb over walls, crawl through mud under barbed wire, navigate water pits, and even jump over fire. Let’s just say, it’s an exciting way to work out!
Take a Hike
Hiking is a great way to get your heart pumping while enjoying some fresh air in the great outdoors.
Grab some friends, lace up your sneakers, and get your hike on! The scenery and feeling of accomplishment after your hike are so much better than an afternoon at the gym.
Try a Track Workout
Running burns more calories than almost any other cardio activity, but it can be boring on a treadmill or along the same old neighborhood route. A great way to keep your running workouts exciting is heading to a nearby track.
Changing up your speed challenges your body so you burn more calories—and it keeps the workout interesting.
Take Advantage of Online Discounts
Online group buys, like Groupon, Eversave, BuyWithMe, and LivingSocial, often offer great deals on fitness activities, such as yoga classes, rock climbing, and even sailing lessons. Taking advantage of these deals is a great way to try something new and keep your workouts exciting!