Hate the Gym? Here Are 6 Fun And Novel Ways To Increase Fitness
So you hate the gym?! OK, we get it… Soul-destroying commercial dance music blaring, self-obsessed people with heavily made-up faces (and that’s just the men!) pouting into mirrors everywhere you look, narcissism dripping from the walls (and pooling in the corners), obnoxious desk staff chewing gum open-mouthed while staring into their iPhones… Oh, and let’s not forget the steady stream of irritating personal trainers pretending to be friendly while really just badgering for business! Yes, gyms can be grim. And inconvenient – they often have a distinct lack of handicap parking spaces. But fear not: there are plenty of ways to increase fitness that do not involve these fluorescent hellholes!
Here is our list of six fun and novel ways to increase fitness for people who can’t stand gyms.
Go Hiking in Nature
Windswept hills of luscious green, or craggy forests populated with huddled, ancient trees and hustling wildlife are pretty much as far away from a stuffy commercial gym as you can get! Hiking in nature gives your legs and your lungs an enlivening workout. Spending time in the peace of Mother Nature’s backyard will still your mind and fill your heart with calm. Hiking can be done at whatever level of intensity works for you – whether it’s a five-day trek through Yosemite, or a 10-minute walk around a lake only yards from your disabled parking space. Hiking in nature is always a great way to increase fitness in both body and soul!
Sweat Yourself Fit in a Sauna
Many telemedicine doctors recommend sauna sessions to their patients as a way to increase physical (and mental) fitness. Saunas are in fact a miracle treatment that hold great benefit for everybody, from the very fit and active to immobile handicap parking permit holders. Sauna benefits include: detoxification (regular sauna use improves sweat-detox pathways and enables the body to cleanse itself of heavy metals and toxins); increased longevity (studies have shown that regular sauna use decreases heart disease risk, as well as all-cause mortality risk, by up to 48%); improved recovery, healing, and blood flow; lower blood sugar (thus reduced accumulated fat); and increased muscle mass (due to the increased amount of heat-shock proteins released by the body during sauna use, which prevent muscle breakdown, and the huge increase in IGF-1, a hormone that promotes muscle building and cell rejuvenation). So saunas are not only extremely relaxing and enjoyable – they are also a great way to increase fitness!
Relax (Or Go Hard!) in a Yoga Class
There are many different types of yoga that cater to all types of people and all levels of fitness. Whether you are a disabled person with a parking permit or an ultra-bendy super-athlete, you will still be able to find a yoga class that suits your needs perfectly. Yoga is wonderful for improving flexibility, mobility, and core strength. It also simultaneously relaxes and energizes the body and mind. The euphoric, calm high you feel after a yoga class is one of life’s most pleasant sensations. Regular yoga is a great way to increase fitness, without having to go anywhere near a gym!
Scale New Heights on a Climbing Wall
Climbing will increase your strength, stamina, flexibility, and mobility (not to mention brainpower, as it requires deep concentration and focus). Bouldering is the most popular type of climbing at the moment, and it can be done outdoors on cliffs and mountains, or indoors in a bouldering center. But fear not: bouldering centers tend to have atmospheres (and music selections) vastly different to commercial gyms. There is a real sense of camaraderie in most bouldering centers, and they tend to be great places to meet new friends, as everybody bonds over their love of this unusual and niche sport. A word of warning, though… Bouldering is highly addictive, so prepare to become obsessed!
Dance the Night (Or Morning Or Afternoon) Away!
A dance class is an excellent way to let your hair down, leave your inhibitions at the door, drop any self-conscious posing, and just have some fun! Dancing really gets the endorphins pumping and it is also one of the best things you can do to increase fitness. There are so many different types of dance you can get involved in: tango, ballroom, pole, tap, samba, ballet – just to name a few. For people with a medical condition that requires a disabled parking space, there are also wheelchair dance classes available in most towns and cities. Dancing is excellent for improving flexibility, core strength, gymnastic ability, cardiovascular fitness, and mobility. Whatever your level of fitness is now, you can absolutely increase it (without entering a gym!) by shaking your booty in a dance class!
Learn to ‘Roll’ on a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Mat
Just as addictive as bouldering, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has exploded in popularity in America over the last decade. BJJ is a martial art that involves grappling on the floor, so it can be done by people of all ages and fitness levels, including handicap permit users. BJJ is highly technical (it has been called ‘the game of human chess’) and requires clear thinking and calm. It is also a great form of exercise that increases flexibility, mobility, and core strength. BJJ ‘dojos’, like bouldering centers, are extremely friendly places where people show each other the utmost respect as they bond over a love for a unique sport – so extremely different in vibe to commercial gyms!
So there you go: six fun and novel ways to increase fitness that do not involve a gym. Pick one or two that sound most enjoyable to you and dive in. Enjoy!