Five ways you can get fit without the gym

Here’s how you can stay fit and get in shape without setting foot on the gym floor

woman doing resistance band workout
(Image credit: Getty)

When it comes to getting fit, many people assume you have to sell your soul to the gym. But some people have gymtimidation, others don’t have one nearby and some people just plain hate it (which is also completely fine by the way). Not forgetting, some gym memberships can be extremely pricey.

The good news is, there's so many other ways you can get fit and lose weight healthily, without ever having to step inside the four walls of a gym. Need some inspiration? You've come to the right place!

Get fit without the gym

Young fashionable woman with curly hair walking on the street and listening to the music

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Walk more

Walking is such an undervalued form of exercise; it’s free, you can do it socially (or alone) and it barely requires any effort. It’s a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and help you get into shape, with a brisk 30 minute walk burning up to 100 to 200 calories. New research shows that the average adult should be doing at least 7,000 steps a day, which you can easily keep track of on your phone. This walking workout consists of power walking intervals and is great for burning those extra cals and boosting your endorphins.

Do bodyweight exercises

People underestimate the power of bodyweight exercises. Exercises like squats, push-ups, planks, crunches, lunges, split-squats (we could go on) are brilliant ways to build up your strength and muscle. How? Using your bodyweight is a form of resistance training (or strength training), the more resistance your muscles encounter and the harder they have to work, the stronger you’ll get. You don’t have to leave your house to do them either. Plus, there’s also a host of benefits that come with strength training too including a faster metabolism, increased bone density and even improved libido! 

Get started:  Here’s nine bodyweight exercises to help you build muscle at home, or a 20 minute no-jump bodyweight workout for those who want something that’s a little more low-impact. Don’t like lunges or squats? Here’s a knee-friendly bodyweight workout to target just your lower body.

Create your own home gym 

Woman standing outdoors holding two dumbbells

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You don’t need to go all out and buy a ton of equipment here. The best bits of home gym equipment you can invest in is either a pair of the best dumbbells or a set of resistance bands. You can do an effective full-body workout with both of these and they can help you build strength and muscle. Both are easy to store and resistance bands are inexpensive. A pair of adjustable dumbbells also means you won’t need to invest in multiple different weighted dumbbells, saving you money in the long run. If you’re after a piece of cardio home gym equipment, get a jump rope. According to Healthline 20 minutes of skipping can burn up to 240 calories.

Get started: Try this 15 minute full-body dumbbell workout or give this full-body resistance band workout a try, it only has eight exercises. 

Try running 

In all fairness some people would rather go to the gym than run, BUT hear me out, as I used to be the exact same and went from no cardio to running 8km in a month. Running is the best form of cardio to lose weight, as you can burn around 60 calories per km. There’s no denying it’s hard if you’ve never done it before (but isn’t anything you haven’t tried?). It’s free, it’s good for your heart, it can help you lose weight, it gets you outside in nature and research has shown that it can help you live longer.  

Get started: Make sure you have a good pair of running shoes as a non-supportive pair of trainers will increase the likelihood of injury.

Try activities that don’t feel like fitness

best exercise for sleep: man swimming in open-air pool

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There’s so many non-gym related activities you can try that will leave your body feeling great like swimming, cycling, rock climbing, barre, yoga, Pilates, bungee fit, pole fitness, hiking, dance, even gardening. Fitness doesn't have to equate to 'the gym' it's all about finding what you truly enjoy, because if you enjoy it you’ll continue to do it and it'll never feel like a chore.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.