3 Ways to Get Fit Without a Gym

by Sakhile Padi

June 25, 2019

Staying healthy and fit is a lifestyle; to continue to enjoy the benefits you need to make it a part of your life. However, as much as I do enjoy an hour-long session at the gym – it’s not always feasible and the truth is that not many people enjoy spending time in the gym for varying reasons.

Thankfully, there are so many interesting ways to get the body moving and have fun at the same time. I have been training for a few years now, and now in my thirties, with a full-time job and all other commitments, it is becoming harder and harder to actually get myself in a gym. The reality is also that sometimes I am really not in the mood for the gym. I feel that my body needs to move but I want to do something fun at the same time. So I have managed to find activities which allow me to catch up with friends (before I lose all of them and have nothing but work), meet new people, destress, have fun and get my body moving all at the same time!

1. Dance Class

The first time I attended an open contemporary dance class I was a little bit nervous since I knew nothing about contemporary dance and there were some actual professional dance students in the class. Oh my goodness! By the end of the hour, I was drenched in sweat and laughing like a maniac. We had been jumping and rolling and stretching and shaking and there were so many other regular non-dancers in the class.

What makes a dance class fun fitness is because you are distracted by the music and learning the choreography and enjoying yourself with a group of strangers and maybe friends. This does not make it “feel” like a workout but it is. You are using new muscles and getting your heart rate up. Most dance schools have an open dance class. This means that it’s a class which is open to the public. This is a good way for dance schools to make extra revenue. You can do an internet search for dance schools in your area and ask them about dance fitness classes or open classes.

If you have more time and a more predictable schedule, you could become a dance student and attend regular classes and socials. Depending on the style of dance you would like to learn, you may need to have a dance partner or invest in dancing shoes or clothing.

You don’t even have to actually attend a class – just make a party playlist and invite some friends over and dance the night (or day) away. Dancing to follow-along videos can be a great way to improve your dancing skills.

2. Walking and Hiking

Friends taking a long nature walk

I love this as a way to catch up with people I have not seen in a while. Most of my friends are not willing to join me for a morning run, so I invite them for walks at a nature reserve close to where I live instead. The best thing about walking at a nature reserve is nature. Once we found a group of horses on a walking trail and we stopped to pet them and take pictures for a few minutes. The best part is the picnic afterwards. After an hour or more of walking, there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting on a picnic blanket on the grass and enjoying some refreshments as I take in the magnificent view.

If you would like to get in more of a workout, you can hike instead of walking. Hiking uses more leg muscles and sometimes you even use your upper body to climb. I personally use Meetup to find hiking groups in my area. You can register and join a properly planned guided hike with a group of people who enjoy hiking as much as you do. One of the best hikes that I’ve been on was an overnight hike. We hiked at night, slept in tents and hiked again in the morning. This is a great way to bond with friends or meet new and interesting people. You will probably need to pay a fee to join a hiking group, however, this is to provide transport, refreshments, tents and many other conveniences so it’s definitely worth it. If however, you are on a budget, you can do an online search on free places to hike or go for a walk at your local park.

You can also do a walking tour of your town or city; you can learn so many interesting facts that you didn’t know from the guides. Most walking tours are free or extremely affordable. Again you can do an online search or be on the lookout for an information booth next time you are at the mall. Just be aware of safety depending on the type of environment you will be walking in. Keep to busy places during the day, with a guide or in a reserved area.

3. Enter a Fitness Event

Ladies posing after a race

Obstacle Course Race

One of the most fun fitness events that I ever attended was an obstacle course race. I attended it with my sister and a friend. We had no idea what we were in for since we didn’t do any research on the course (don’t be like us, be prepared). My sister didn’t have breakfast and my friend hadn’t trained properly in months. It was challenging, we had fun and we laughed at ourselves (we were covered in mud and bruises). The camaraderie was amazing – everyone was helping anyone. The course had 21 obstacles; from rope climbing to swimming in mud. This is the type of event that you need to do research on if you are still a beginner. The great thing about obstacle races is that they have different degrees of difficulty and you can always work your way up to the next level after a few months or year if you want. One thing to be aware of is how to deal with muscle soreness the days after the event.

Fun Runs

Colour runs are also lots of fun, or really any themed fun run. You get to wear coloured wigs and get splashed with colourful powder while you run. You can do it with friends and family and it’s usually for a good cause like saving the rhinos or breast cancer. Most fun runs accommodate all fitness levels, strollers, children and sometimes even dogs – so this can be fun for everyone, especially with all the entertainment afterwards.

Most fun runs do a really good job with advertising since they are usually for raising funds. Information can also be found at local running clubs, in local running magazines and you could subscribe to your local running calendar.

So there you have it. The next time you feel stuck in a rut with your training or just find training absolutely boring, get some friends together for a dance class or an at-home dance session. If you have nobody to join you, it’s okay because you will make new friends when you get there. Go for a nature walk or hike or enter a fitness event that interests. A body in motion stays in motion.

 

Sakhile Padi

By Sakhile Padi

I love movement; dance, exercise and flowing rivers. I promote mental, emotional and physical health. I enjoy baking, travel and have never watched Game of Thrones. I am South African

Read more at hotteabiscuits.com

Leave a Comment...

Dineo

June 28, 2019

Well done on this wonderful, yet informative piece. I look forward to reading & learning a lot from the information you will be sharing with us.

Clarence Watts

June 28, 2019

I love this article. I always tell people that gyms are overated. You can save so much money by keeping fit with whats around you. Thank you Sakhile.