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Getting Fit without a Gym Membership: Exercise Options for Home

Updated on March 11, 2015

It's Time to Get Fit

Fitness is not just a fad; it's not even about looking good in a bathing suit (though that's a really nice side benefit). Fitness is a necessity for life-- for your health, both physical and mental. It's for your overall well being and quality of life.

There was a time when people just didn't have to worry about fitness as much-- they were outdoors more, they had to walk to get places, they had to crank the handle on the washer to get the clothes clean and chop the wood to keep the house warm. Times have really changed; we have made lives so much less physically demanding for ourselves through technology that now our health is in danger. A lot of diseases related to poor diet and lack of exercise are our biggest threats, and we simply have to move more.

The good news is, you don't have to go completely out of your way to do this. A lot of people worry about gym memberships. You may worry if you can afford one, or if you'll ever find the time to get there. You don't need to-- you can actually do things to get fit in the privacy of your own home.


Get the Heart Pumping

One of the most popular pieces of equipment at the gym is the treadmill. A lot of people join a gym just to have access to a treadmill. It is a wonderful thing to have, but many of us just don't have the budget or the space to have one at home. That doesn't mean you can't get the same kind of workout as you would from a treadmill. The whole point of a treadmill is to keep moving. The constant movement on a treadmill is a way to burn calories, get your heart and lungs pumping, and improve your energy and stamina. Another great benefit of such constant movement is that it helps release endorphins that actually make you feel better.

We don't have to become reliant on the treadmill for these things. Go outdoors and walk around the block instead, ride a bike, skate or swim.

Just Get Out of the House and go for a ride


Get Fit in your Own Back Yard

You can get fit by just having a little fun with sports in your own back yard, or at your neighborhood park. Shoot some hoops-- put up a basketball hoop over the garage and play every evening for an hour after dinner. Go to the local park and get into a tennis or racket ball game. If you live where there are frozen lakes, some ice skating or hockey in the middle of the afternoon is a great way to get fit. Even just practicing your "juggling" with a soccer ball on your knee will do the job.

A lot of people complain they don't like sports, so the option wouldn't work for them. But this is not about organized sports-- it's not about having to play a regulation game, you don't have to learn the rules or keep track of the score. It's just about getting yourself moving and doing something that will keep you engaged. When you play ball or hockey or some other sport, there is a goal, and it is a challenge to meet. This keeps your mind busy and focused on something so the exercise doesn't feel quite so tedious and time consuming.

Even if you don't like a particular sport, grab a ball (or a stick, or something) and give it a try a few times to get yourself moving.

Make Exercise Fun

Spalding NBA Backboard/Rim Combo - 44" Polycarbonate Backboard
Spalding NBA Backboard/Rim Combo - 44" Polycarbonate Backboard

Sports are a great way to get your friends or family exercising with you. If you have kids, it can be an important part of teaching them that fitness should be an everyday part of life, and doesn't have to be a chore.


In the Privacy of Your Own Home

You don't even have to leave the house to get physically fit. There are plenty of things you can do right in the privacy of your own living room, or bedroom, and incorporate into your daily routine.

How about just turning on your favorite music? Dance-- you don't need a lot of space to do it. Just keep on moving at a moderate pace for 30 to 60 minutes.

Another option is to get some exercise DVDs and get started on a program that instructs you right from the comforts of being in front of your own television set. Try yoga, aerobics, Pilates or any number of exercise videos that get you active. From warm up to cool down, motivational exercise videos can be a great habit to get into.

If you're not a fan of those types of videos and want something simple, try a step. Just get the kinds of steps used in step classes and keep it under the bed. When you would normally settle down to watch your favorite soap or news station, don't lounge on the couch with the Cheetos. Instead, pull out your step and set it up in front of the television. As you watch your show, step up, then down. And up, then down. Repeat the movement for 30 minutes or more.

As you can see, it doesn't have to be fancy, or expensive, it just has to keep you active.

Step it Up!

The Step Original Circuit Size Aerobic Platform with Grey Nonslip Platform and Four Original Black Risers
The Step Original Circuit Size Aerobic Platform with Grey Nonslip Platform and Four Original Black Risers

You don't have to do any fancy routines if it's not your thing. Just keep on moving-- make that your mantra as you go up and down your step. Keep on moving.


Get Firm

Aerobic and anaerobic exercises are not the only kind of exercises you can manage from the comfort of your own home. You can do some toning and muscle building there as well.

Think about the ancient Greeks and Romans-- how did they keep fit without the benefit of the gym? How did they get so muscular to battle at the coliseum or compete in the Olympics? Simple-- they just used what they had available.

Try some daily press-ups or push-ups; all you need is you and the floor, and you've got the makings of a workout. You can also do chin-ups if you have a sturdy bar or tree branch at the right height in your back yard. That's a good way to put your kid's swing set to use. When you're done toning your arms, try firming up your abdominal muscles with some sit-ups, or working on your legs with knee bends and squats.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish that is to get yourself a set of weights, or -- if you have the room -- get yourself a full home fitness set-up. Whether you're just doing curls with some dumb bells, or have a machine that allows you to do everything from bench pressing to leg lifts, you'll burn more calories and gain more muscle by making them part of your regular routine.

Pump Some Iron

CAP Barbell 40-pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case
CAP Barbell 40-pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case

If you're not going to make it to a gym regularly, that money would be better spent on exercise equipment that you can use in the comfort of home.


Exercise While You Socialize

If hanging out with friends usually means coffee houses, lunch dates, movies and concerts, you need to make some changes. Challenge your friends to get fit with you, or get some fitter friends-- make your work-out part of your social routine.

Consider signing up at the local community center for a karate class, gymnastics, or even ballroom dancing. Go out dancing more often on the weekends and work off the calories and cares on the dance floor. Get into camping, fencing or rock climbing and go on weekends with your friends. Love photography? Join a nature photography club that takes weekly hikes into natural areas.

Are you concerned about saving the world? What about signing up for charities. Coach a kids sports team, help build houses for Habitat for Humanities, or offer to work in the kitchen part of the soup kitchen, cleaning up. Not only will they be thrilled you asked to do the part of the job no one wants, but you'll also keep yourself physically active while doing it. A lot of people's problems these days are not so much that they don't set aside specific exercise time, but that with most jobs being done on computers in cubicles, people just aren't on their feet enough.

Getting fit doesn't have to be a boring chore that you have to squeeze into the schedule-- it can be part of a well-rounded lifestyle; there are a lot of things you can do for fun that can help you get fit.

Get Fit Today

Zumba Fitness Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD (Multi, Small)
Zumba Fitness Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD (Multi, Small)

Your ideal fitness routine is out there-- you just have to find it!


Make the Commitment to Fitness

Your health is one thing you don't want to mess with-- and it's the thing you regret most when it's damaged. Don't waste another year dreaming about getting fit and trim. Check with your doctor, look around at the options and find a fitness routine that's right for you. Look for something that will do the job, fit easily in your lifestyle, that you won't mind doing-- in fact, shoot for something you can really enjoy.

By this time next year, you will be so in love with yourself for making the change and sticking to a fitness routine, that you won't mind keeping up with it at all. When something makes you feel that great, and look that good, it's not something you want to give up very easily.

Full Body Cardio Workout at Home for Beginners


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    • shai77 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thank you kidscrafts. More of us work sitting down these days than standing up and moving around I think. It's so important to our health and comfort to take "movement breaks" through the day. I appreciate your comments and votes, thanks!

    • shai77 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks Mama Kim! I think the hauling yourself out like that discourages a lot of people to keep it up. Really people just need to move more in the day, that's better than any gym membership. Appreciate your comments!

    • kidscrafts profile image


      6 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      You are so right! My husband and myself work a lot on a computer so we have to take time to move more and have those muscles working! Usually we eat quite healthy but that alone is not enough! Cleaning the house is kind of an exercise...but maybe not all the good muscles are targeted.

      This year we decided to take care of ourselves and to invest in our health by taking time for it.

      Thanks for your good article! Lets start this new year right :-)

      Happy New Healthy Year to you!

      Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      6 years ago

      I couldn't imagine hauling myself to a gym several times a week to exercise when there's so much you can do at home or outside! Way better than any gym ^_^ Wonderful hub! Voting a whole bunch ^_^

    • shai77 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks tillsontitan; very true. A lot of people don't like the gym but people were getting fit long befofre gyms. People have to be active, it's just important for health & quality of life. Appreciate your comment!

    • shai77 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hypenbird, what a blessing! That is a great use of space. Nine is a fun age and good health habits are so important for kids today, so many get used to a sedentary lifestyle before they reach their teens with all the electronic entertainment. Good for you!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      You are so right shai! We have so many options to keep ourselves fit...what's better than dancing or charity work? Fit your fitness into your lifestyle and you'll be set for life!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Hi shai77. We are blessed to have a full basement that is barely used. We are creating an exercise area and loving it. Thank yo for these great tips. I can put them to use. My little boy and I exercise together and it is so much fun. He is nine and I want him to grow up knowing how important exercise is for him.


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