While some people shudder at the idea, for others, going to the gym is an enjoyable challenge. The word exercise might conjure up thoughts of stress, strain and misery.
This is understandable. Exercise is often seen in a negative light, something difficult, something to be avoided because it requires effort. It doesn’t have to be. Luckily, there’s no need to take part in traditional exercise in order to lose weight. That’s right, you don’t have to put on your jogging shorts or squeeze into pink lycra. What’s more, you don’t need a gym membership or any expensive equipment. Calories are easily burnt without using benches, weights or ropes.
Every time you move, you’re using up calories. Every activity you can think of requires you to move. When you’re pottering around the house or climbing the stairs, you’re using up calories (energy) so it’s very possible you can improve your energy output without even leaving the house. We wouldn’t recommend it, we suggest you take part in fun outdoor activities as often as you can. Finding an activity which is enjoyable is key. If you discover an activity you enjoy, apursuit that’s fun, it is likely you’ll want to do it regularly and often.
Here are some ideas:
1/ laser tag – enjoy running around shooting at your opponents. Losing weight has never been so much fun. Other fun activities you could try include paint-balling, trampolining, hula-hooping, skipping, bowling, climbing, rollerblading.
2/ adventure park – take the kids to an adventure park where you can try zip-lining, climbing and or rafting. Alternatively, go on a ropes course or try your luck at an escape room, complete the puzzles in a race to gain your freedom.
3/ shop at the mall – not everyone loves shopping, but for those that do, you’ll be amazed how much weight you can shift by spending the day looking around the shops – it’s a great way to complete your daily steps target of 10,000.
4/ learn to dance – dancing is a great way to burn up calories, many people who try dancing soon become hooked. Salsa is a good choice with lots of quick and energetic movements, but really any dance will do, so turn off strictly on the telly and try out the real thing. Zumba (fitness-dance combo) is a good choice.
5/ learn to kick – if you use the larger muscle groups, you’ll use more energy (calories) so working your legs is a good idea. You could take up kick boxing, judo or some other martial art. Fencing, boxing and Taibo are all good alternatives.
6/ gardening – this is another great way to exercise without exercising. Get’s you out in the fresh air and because it’s physical, you’ll use up lots of calories. It can also be therapeutic and may help alleviate stress, anxiety or depression. Actually, most forms of exercise can help with this.
7/ foraging – why not try foraging. You’ll need some help getting started, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it’s not a bad way to spend some of your time. Not only will you clock up steps, you’ll sort out something healthy and tasty for dinner. Foods which are foraged are nearly always low in calories/fat. If unsure about what is safe/unsafe to eat, always seek professional guidance.
8/ walking– great way to shed some fat without exerting yourself and it’s something everyone can do (no specialist equipment is required). That said, if you’re taking a long walk, it’s a good idea to wear suitable footwear and to pack a bag with supplies like food, water and maybe a first aid kit. There are lots of ways you can increase the amount of walking you do, like learning to play golf. For more ways to get walking, check out our community page on FB.
9/ water activities – kayaking, canoeing or paddle boarding are all fun ways to travel on water. When something is fun, you don’t realise your exercising, time passes quickly and you expel more calories. If you enjoy swimming, get to the pool. It’s a great form of exercise. One which uses all body parts without stressing your joints.
10/ search for stuff – get out your metal detector and search for gold or lost treasure. If you need a reason to get off the sofa and head outdoors, this could be it. The chance to find something of interest or value (maybe even make some money).
Alternatively, pick up some plastic on the beach. If you can organise a local event, great. If not, just grab some friends/family and get picking. You’ll be using up calories and at the same time, doing something for the environment. Something fantastic and worthwhile. Wear gloves and use a picker if you have one.
NO TIME for exercise. Here’s what you need to do
Fitting exercise into your daily routine can often feel like a challenge. It doesn’t need to be, in fact but you’re probably doing more exercise than you think. You might say you don’t have time, but guess what, you don’t need to go the gym to lose weight and there’s really no need for any intense or gruelling activity/sport. Even with a busy lifestyle, weight-loss can be achieved.
Every activity you do, uses up calories (energy) so if you spend most days stuck at a desk, make the most of the time when you aren’t. Firstly, if you’re eating a sensible diet and not over eating, the amount of activity you need to do in order to create a calorie deficit will be minimal. If you do take in any excess calories, they can be used up either walking (or cycling) to and from work or by doing regular household tasks around the house.
Here are a few ways you can fit exercise into your lifestyle without the gym and without leaving the house.
1/ clean the house – put on some cheerful music, something with a fast uplifting beat. Be sure to clean with a spring in your step, you could even practice some dance moves. There’s bound to be tasks you’ve put off around the house like cleaning the oven/fridge, the windows or kitchen cupboards. Cleaning is a great way to burn calories and lose weight. Vacuuming the house is almost as good as hitting the rowing machine or doing 10 mins on the stepper. It’s not just your arms that get a workout either, climbing the stairs with a hoover under your arm will work your legs too. Alternative: clean the car or brush the yard.
2/ get in the garden – choose a sunny day, grab your earphones and start plucking out those pesky weeds. Whether you’re mowing in the summer or raking up leaves in the autumn, garden tasks get you moving. Any digging, trimming, pruning or weeding you do, will have you using up energy. You’ll burn calories and get vitamin D at the same time, but don’t burn your skin in the process. Put on some protection-SPF 30 and maybe a hat.
3/ decorating/DIY– there’s always tasks to be done (DIY, decorating, maintenance etc) and sometimes things need more than a dust and a wipe. Anything which requires sanding, painting, cleaning or clearing requires physical effort. You won’t have to look far to find a task, but some examples include painting the garden fence, clearing the gutters, power-hosing the drive, restoring furniture etc.
4/ tidy up – tasks like tidying and sorting, we usually put off until it can’t be left any longer, but tidying up usually requires lots of moving and lifting which is great for using up calories. Examples: tidying the garage, shed, wardrobe, drawers, toy cupboard, clothes/shoes, pantry etc.
5/ laundry day – it may be a bore, but just like tidying up, washing, ironing and folding clothes requires plenty of movement. Modern machines have made things easier (we no longer have to hand wash), but we’ll still expend some energy on laundry day.
6/ get in the bedroom – possibly the least boring on the list. Sex is a great way to use up calories with little impact on your time. You can do it first thing (when you wake) or before you go to bed. Sex is really exercise in disguise. Remember,20-30 mins of daily activity is often all you need to keep yourself trim, so enjoy this energetic act as often as you like. Not in the mood, 2-3 sets of press-ups or lunges will do much the same thing.
7/ be more productive – You don’t need to schedule a time and place for exercise orchange into suitable attire. At home you can exercise any time. A good way to fit exercise into a busy day is to be more efficient with your time. During an average day there may be periods when your sat waiting. Don’t waste this time. For example. When you make a cup of tea. Use the 3 mins it takes for the kettle to boil, to do a few exercise moves. You can do squats, lunges or even star jumps, whatever you fancy. I’ve heard of people doing squats as they brush their teeth. Others keep a set of dumbbells in the bathroom so they can do arm curls on the toilet.
8/ get it out of the way – If exercise isn’t your bag, get it out of the way early. I sometimes do a set of press ups first thing in the morning, which helps me wake me up or i’ll do them just before i go to bed. This can be habit forming, which is great. You want more good habits and less of the bad.
Activities like this will get you moving, if you keep moving, you’ll quickly make those pesky calories disappear. When you concentrate on a task, you spend less time thinking of food. Also, time tends to pass quickly when you’re busy and you burn off calories without realising it.
So now you know. Anyone can burn calories, lose weight and run a household, without going to the gym. All it takes is some imagination. The worst thing you can do is stay stationary, so get up and keep moving.
Don’t forget to get yourself a fitness tracker, Fitbit or smart watch, so you can monitor your activity levels and step it up a gear if you need to. These tools will be invaluable to you.