6 Alternatives to a Typical Gym Routine

Mar 7th, 2015

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6 Alternatives to a Typical Gym Routine

I am in fairly good shape, and I have cut my gym time to at least 3 or more days a week. The thing is, when you think about it, there are plenty of activities out there in normal life that can help you keep fit — without having to visit a gym. Here’s what you can do:

1. Walk your errands

Photo: Kohei Hara/Getty Images

It’s an amazing sight to see a baby take their first steps — but then after that, walking sort of seems boring. Walking is something so basic to us — and yet it can burn around 200+ calories an hour (depending on your weight). Go for a walk. It’s super easy and it’s good for you. But you don’t have to walk aimlessly outside like you would on an indoor treadmill; try running your errands on foot. Park your car, or take mass transit to a place, and then walk the rest with a bag to hold your things. You’ll get stuff done in the process. Alternatively, you can park somewhere away from your office on the way to work, and walk the rest.

2. Bike to and fro

Photo: Yellow Dog Productions/Getty Images

Why use the stationary bike at the gym, when you can go on an actual bike and go places? Cycling can burn hundreds of calories per hour, so you might as we burn them on an excursion. Bike around the city, or to a destination far away. The nice thing about biking to a destination rather than using a stationary bike in a gym is, you can’t get back home unless you bike the extra miles to get where you started. In this respect, biking somewhere else forces you to work out — or else be stranded. You’ll get fit just out of circumstances.

3. Run for fun

Photo: Getty Images

You don’t need to be training for a marathon — or an ultra marathon — to run. Running can be fun, plus it’s a great calorie burner. As with biking, running to a destination is a good idea to get fit — because you can’t go home without running back. (If you’re tempted to cheat by taking a bus, leave your money or transit card at home.)

4. Take the stairs

Photo: yellowdog/cultura/Corbis

When the elevator was invented in the 19th century, it was considered a marvel of technology. Decades later, it remains to be a marvel, but it’s also a thing we’ve taken advantage of — one that makes us lazy. Fortunately, all multi-story buildings are equipped with stairwells as an alternative to the elevator — so why wait for a fire drill to use that alternative? Taking the stairs, particularly if you’re in an office building with accessible stairs, can help burn 15 calories per flight, 3 times a day.

5. Stand and work

Photo: John M (jsmjr) via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

If you don’t mind your co-workers pointing fingers at you while you stand at your desk, get out of your seat and get onto your feet. Or, ask your boss for a standing desk, so you don’t have to lean over to your workstation to much. Standing burns about 30 more calories an hour than sitting, plus it reduces aches and stiffness and improves your posture.

6. Watch what you eat and drink

Photo: Barry Yee/Getty Images

All this non-gym exercise is great to burn calories, but you can also reduce the unnecessary calories — stored in your body as fat — simply by taking less in. Your body only requires a certain amount of calories per day to do normal things (what that number is depends on your height and build), but simply stay within those limits by watching what you eat. If you’re trying to lose weight, short change your required calorie amount by a little each day and your body will eventually start burning the fat in your reserves.

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