We all know by now that staying active is super important for our physical and mental health, but not everyone is into the traditional gym setting. And well, it’s very understandable - the crappy lighting, the crowded spaces, the machine hogs who take way too long on the machines and force you to wait, the scavenger hunt you have to go on for the weights you need because no one re-racks their weights…! We can keep going. So how do you get your workout in when you’re just not a gym type of person?
Yoga is completely transformative, for not only the body but also the mind. You work on following your instructor as they guide you through poses that are meant to center, ground, energize you and stretch out your ligaments, tendons and muscles. Yoga also helps tone your muscles and build their strength, which in turn burns fat. It’s a great setting to also work on proper breathing and meditation which does wonders for the body and the immune system.
Invest in some stretchy outfits, like cute yoga leggings and find a yoga studio nearby. There’ll be other yogis going, too, giving you a nice sense of community and a chance to meet new people along your yogi journey. It’s nothing like the gym but has all the benefits - arguably, even more!
Take Up Dancing
Ever noticed how spectacular dancers look? They’ll often have toned muscles, svelte silhouettes and have a graceful ease of movement that you can’t help but notice. That’s because dance works out every part of the body. From jazz, contemporary, ballet, and flamenco to hip hop, afrobeats, dancehall, to belly dance or whatever type of dance you enjoy, the movements of dancing force you to use your core strength for balance, your limbs for movement and your mind for memorization of the moves.
Dance to get more flexible, stronger, more toned, and to release that serotonin - all those good feels chemicals travel throughout you when you’re dancing. Dressing up in fun workout clothes like printed leggings and matching sports bras will have you feeling amazing and loving your reflection in the mirror. While you’re dancing, feeling the music, watching yourself learn the moves and remembering the routine, the last thing you’ll be thinking about is the fact that you’re exercising.
Join a local league! Pick a sport that has community leagues in your area, like soccer, baseball, softball, beach volleyball, flag football or whatever you like to do. Sports are games, so you’ll be so into playing the game trying your hardest to score and help your team win that it won’t feel like exercise. You might get winded sometimes, but that’s the point! Most sports incorporate plenty of running around (cardio) and jumping (High Intensity Interval Training) for starters, so a lot of the reps you’d be doing in the gym, you will be able to replace on the field or court.
There’s something so freeing about riding around on a bicycle outdoors, taking in the scenery and feeling the wind against your face and whipping your hair. Now pair that with a community of other avid cyclists to ride with and you have a fun new substitute to working out in the gym.
If you prefer cycling to music and high-energy group workouts, cycling or spinning classes are another amazing way to shed a couple hundred calories in one class!
If you love the feeling of moving forward, especially outdoors in nature or in an urban setting then run clubs, like cycling clubs, are another great option. Running with others not only motivates you, but it creates accountability so you have an incentive not to miss a run. Running in numbers is also much safer than running on your own, and honestly, can be much more fun as you meet new people and mingle with fellow runners. Lastly, running in scenic areas can feel much more exhilarating and free than being stuck doing repetitive movements indoors.
These are just examples, but there are tons more possibilities - things like swimming, rock climbing, fencing - get creative! Find physical activities that bring you out of the gym but motivate you to keep moving throughout the new year.