Innovative Ways to Stay Active Without a Gym Membership

Maintaining a fitness routine without a gym membership can be challenging. But there are a variety of affordable and easy-to-do options to help you stay active.

Often the biggest barrier to staying active is lack of motivation. However, with some simple strategies you can find an exercise that is both fun and effective.

1. Embrace the Great Outdoors

A great way to stay fit without a gym membership is to spend more time outdoors. Walking, jogging or hiking are excellent low-impact activities that can help you burn calories, build endurance and explore beautiful scenery.

Consider hiking with a group to help keep you accountable or try a stair climbing routine. Stair climbing improves your overall physical fitness and can burn more calories than jogging, while also strengthening your arms and back.

If you aren’t a naturally-born outdoorsy person, take it slow and create small goals for yourself. This can help you get comfortable and build a snowball effect of enjoying more outdoor activities. You can also follow outdoor enthusiasts on social media to get inspiration and learn more about the activities that you love to do.

2. Try Bodyweight Exercises

Bodyweight exercises are a flexible, cost-effective and intensive workout. They can help you develop strength, flexibility, balance and stamina without the need for expensive equipment or even a gym membership.

These exercises can also be modified to challenge any fitness level. For example, you can increase the difficulty of a basic push-up by adding more reps or increasing the speed. In addition, bodyweight exercises can be combined to create a circuit workout that can get your heart rate up and burn fat fast.

Plus, bodyweight exercises are easy to do anywhere — you can workout at home, on vacation or in a hotel room. Just try to keep it interesting by watching your favorite streaming show or listening to a podcast. It will make the workout fly by.

3. Join a Community Sports or Group Class

Whether you’re on the hunt for new ways to exercise, avoiding gyms because of COVID-19 or you simply don’t have access to a gym, getting fit doesn’t have to be hard. There are infinite options for working out without a gym membership.

Embrace your local community and join a sporting club or group activity. Depending on your location, community sports are often free or low-cost.

If you don’t have the budget for a sport, you can also take part in community events like park runs or bike rides. Many parks also have fitness stations, such as dip and chin-up bars, which you can use to get in a full-body workout. If you have kids, encourage them to play outside and make physical activity fun.

4. Stay Active on a Budget

Whether you’re taking the stairs instead of taking the elevator or working out in your home, getting fit doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. You can find a variety of free workout videos on YouTube and fitness apps. Plus, you can purchase used equipment like bikes and weights from local yard sales and online marketplaces.

Lastly, make sure you’re taking advantage of your credit card rewards or discounts if you do have a gym membership. Also, it’s important to remember that consistency is key – so if you’re able to stick with your exercise routine long-term, the investment will be worth it. You’ll feel better and see results over time. NerdWallet’s personal finance expert Carolyn Siegel contributed to this article. You can follow her on Twitter at @carolynsiegel.

5. Mix Up Your Routine

When a gym is closed or you find yourself in a long stretch of working from home, it can be hard to keep up with your workout routine. That’s why it’s important to try new things and mix up your routine when possible.

For example, if you’re stuck at home, try a virtual class or a fitness app that offers guided workouts. These apps can offer a variety of workouts and will help keep you motivated.

If you’re looking for something more social, join a community sports team or group dance classes. These activities will not only keep you active, but they can also provide a sense of community and accountability. You could even try a fun craft project such as building a flower wall or time capsule to foster some social interaction.

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