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7 Ways to Work Out Without Joining a Gym

Updated: Mar 3

by Camille Johnson

Don’t assume that the treadmill, elliptical machine, or a spin class are your only options for working out. Some people get inspired in gym settings, but for others it can feel claustrophobic, or maybe they just don’t want people watching them while they workout. Luckily, there are no rules in terms of cardio or strength training as long as you’re mindful of your limits.

If you’re planning to step up your workout game so that you can look great in your new swimsuit, get creative with your workouts! Remember to blend cardio with strength, balance, agility, and flexibility training for a holistic approach. Here are a few options.



  1. Check out a wave pool. You already know that swimming is a fun and joint-friendly way to get fit, but if water aerobics and laps aren’t doing it for you, why not hit the waves? Those who are lucky enough to live close to the ocean can always take advantage of nature’s wave pool. However, the rest of us likely have a wave park nearby! It takes cardio, strength, and balance training to tackle those waves, and you can bet the minutes will fly — or swim — right by. Summer is an excellent time to catch some waves, but don’t forget to wear your sunscreen and to stay hydrated.

  2. Take classes online. Online classes don’t require commutes or the awkwardness of being a newbie in class. Pilates with Scott is currently offering online group Pilates training sessions so you can train in the comfort of your own home!

  3. Build your own gym. Why not take home workouts a step further by making space in your home for your own personal gym? You can customize it for your needs by adding any equipment and decor you want. It will also increase your motivation to work out, since everything you need to stay active would be just a few steps away. Even if you have a small apartment, you can make space for a home gym. You just need enough room to stretch out for activities like yoga or weight lifting. If you own your home, you might consider making more permanent changes, such as adding extra outlets, new flooring, a pull-up bar, and/or a ceiling fan. Just be sure to document any value-boosting home upgrades you make.

  4. Whole-body vibration machines. Contrary to what many people think, these machines actually are effective. They were created for astronauts in the 1960s as a means of battling muscle atrophy when in zero gravity. You’ll find them at some gyms, including big-box and boutique establishments, and it’s well worth braving the gym environment to try them out. It’s a challenge to your balance like you’ve never experienced before.

  5. Take a little one to the playground. Fitness should involve play, and what better place than a playground to embrace it? The next time your kids want to go to the playground, forget about sitting on the sidelines. Rediscover the swing, slides, and more. Likewise, you can take your dog to a local dog park and add some physical activity to your day!

  6. Go roller skating. Get your disco on at a retro rink or hit the pavement (with a helmet and knee pads, of course!). Skating is a phenomenal workout, but few adults stick with it. If you’ve tried running and cycling but couldn’t get into it, you might find roller skating or rollerblading to be more fun. It’s much gentler on the knees than running and requires a lot more agility and balance, so you’ll be able to squeeze in more types of fitness than sheer cardio alone.

  7. Urban hike. If you don’t have the time to dedicate yourself to trails several miles away, journey through your own neighborhood or a nearby town on foot. Walking is a solid workout, especially if you challenge yourself to go off pavement or up and down hills. It’s also a way to see your neighborhood with a new lens. Seek out rougher terrain to give your feet and ankles an added challenge.

Trying out new exercises is an adventure in itself that will require energy and focus. Make sure your daily habits aren’t getting in the way of fully enjoying the benefits of working out. Adequate sleep is essential to your physical and mental health, as it increases your ability to focus and perform daily functions. Lack of energy is one of the biggest excuses for not working out, so don’t let it be an option. Opt for natural sleep, by avoiding the use of medication, and set a bedtime if necessary to jumpstart the process. Consider how other bad habits, such as smoking, could be an obstacle to your health. Having to constantly stop to catch your breath means you aren’t taking full advantage of the workout. An active and healthy lifestyle requires dedication, so get rid of obstacles that make it more difficult than necessary.

How will you get creative with your next workout? Try a sport you’ve been thinking about, or say “yes” the next time your friend asks you to join them at that cornhole tournament. Not every workout has to be intense or challenging. Have fun with them and get moving.

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