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Free and Effective Alternatives to Going to the Gym

Updated on April 25, 2019
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Ardot lives and breathes on this planet. He shares what he likes and finds useful. He enjoys abstract art and ideas.

New Years Resolutions.....

As I blasted by the gym on my road bike, I glanced in the window and wondered why in the hell anyone would want to be couped up in a smelly, sweaty gym on such a beautiful summer day. That bike ride marked almost three months of not stepping foot in the gym.

I started off with my fitness and weight loss goals the previous summer, and the workouts I did in that gym did a wonderful job of getting my body accustomed to physical activity in a safe controlled environment. I kept at it right through the holidays, Thanksgiving week I was there, pounding away at the treadmill. Christmas? Yup, still swinging those kettlebells..... Hmm, gym was nice and empty..... New years, let me try a spinning class, fun! Then BAM! Everyone and their sister must have made the same new year's resolution to get in shape for the summer and hit the gym. It was totally gross! I felt like a sardine in a briny broth. My once fluid workouts were being compromised by, gasp! waiting in line to use a machine?..... What? there are no treadmills available? Oh, well, guess I'll have to use the elliptical.... Grrrr, I was gonna use the assisted dip machine, suddenly someone appears out of nowhere..... more waiting!

This nonsense did not let up for the entire winter. It was awful. I started to wonder if I really needed the gym to get a workout. One of my first workouts sans gym was when I decided to go for a run.

A revelation: Outdoor workouts

It was March. Winter still hadn't fully released it's cold death-grip from the great outdoors. I really was not in the mood to workout steeped in the smell of ass at the gym. I dug out my long-johns, found a cool looking skull cap, and simply went for a run.

It was hell! I must have done 3 km at most.... It was freezing and it felt so weird being out all alone in a winter wasteland.... I was hooked!

I spent the next couple of months slowly building up my run distanced to 5 km.

After each run, i would experiment with different types of exercises. I would run home, stretch out my legs and do some Tai-Chi (thanks, You-Tube!)

I started experimenting with different combinations of activities. Running and Tai-chi, Pilates and Kettle-Bell, Walking and Body-Weight Exercises, Biking and Yoga.....

As winter gave way to spring, I would visit the gym less and less. More and more of my workouts were out in the fresh air of the beautiful outdoors. I would get home and continue to do the rest of my workout in the privacy of my own home.

The importance of injury avoidance

Nothing will hinder your progress like a nagging knee or Achilles injury. There are many new views as to how we currently run, and how we are supposed to be running. They mainly focus around how the foot falls on the ground after each step. Traditional cushioned running shoes encourage us to land on the heels of our feet. This is proving to be the wrong way to run as it it very hard on our bodies. The shock of running is supposed to be absorbed and dissipated by the spring that is our feet.

All this and more including foot strengthening exercises are included in the book "The Running Revolution: How to Run Faster, Farther, and Injury-Free--for Life"

This book has helped me immensely in maintaining my running regime. I find myself watching other runners and notice how many people are just destroying their feet, knees, hips, and spine by running with horrible form.

Read this book, it will help you with your running technique.

Nature runs are awesome

One of my usual biking routes was past the gym, just as a reminder of where my fitness journey began. I look forward to my workouts so much more now, I long to be outdoors, basking in the beauty that is nature. I find myself pushing myself to go farther, faster, harder.... Occasionally I'll get a treat from nature in the form of a chance encounter with a fox, or witness a family of geese out for a stroll, or a close call with a skunk....(less majestic). All of these moments experienced in nature remind me of that the earth is meant for all living creatures. I have developed a new understanding of the world around me and clearer view of the lay of the land. I learn to respect that goose protecting his nest and steer clear of that skunk with his tail up. All the while my body reaps the rewards of regular physical activity. My mind also gets a meditative, spiritual awakening in a world that can be chaotic.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2017 Ardot


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