Staying Fit Without A Gym

Approach your fitness with the same dedication you approach your hygiene. Do you brush your teeth once or twice a day? Why should you? Because you want to keep them for your long life.

Do you participate in a fitness program every day? Why should you? Because you want to keep your body fit for your long life.

Think of a daily fitness program as your health hygiene.

Your fitness program is the culmination of moves you make through the day. Even if you participate in an organized program, you will be well served to augment that with some of your own activities. A fitness program is really quite easy to develop, and you can make it fun, too!

At the very least, move regularly — hourly for five to ten minutes each time would be ideal. What kind of movement counts for fitness? Anything! Walk. Stretch. Isometrics. Ride a bike. Breathwork. Jump rope. Hopscotch. Hula hoop. Hike. Bend. Squat. And those are all things you can do at home and at work.

If you want to branch out to a gym you could add swimming, rowing, lifting, climbing, CrossFit, dancing, court sports, etc. Those activities can be great additions to your basic program, but they aren’t sufficient in and of themselves. Why? Because you want frequent, regular movement that these don’t provide.

How can you make fitness fun? I see several ways to do that.

Make it a game

Make your fitness a game can be done by giving yourself points for each activity you accomplish. With a set number of points, you can reward yourself. Rewards could be going to the movies (at home or the theater), buying yourself a little something, going out to eat, buying a healthy snack — you get to set the reward, something that motivates you to stay on track.

The game could also be to pick a challenging movement and add one every day. Say, 100 pushups in 100 days. That would be badass!

Move in ways that you enjoy

I love walking, so taking myself on a walk is wonderful. The best walk is when I am outside and taking in the sun and fresh air, but I’ll walk around in the house/garage/yurt if I need to “get my steps in” and it’s too dark or cold to be outside. I’m walking in nature much of the time so I get to watch the changing of the seasons. I tell myself I’m also getting sunshine when it’s raining or snowing — but it’s really the fresh air that I’m enjoying regardless. What is a movement you like doing that you could do throughout the day?

Move in new ways, maybe as you did when you were a kid!

Take the stairs two at a time. When walking in a park, jump up onto a bench, and then off of it again. Balance walk along curbs or landscape beams. Use landscape boulders as stepping stones pretending there are alligators or monsters below them; this gives you movement, balance, and excitement!

Swing on a swing set or on a tree swing when you have a chance. Hopscotch moves are fun ways to improve your balance, stretching, and jumping skills. Jumping jacks! Climb a tree. What movements did you do as a kid that I haven’t mentioned?

Challenge yourself

Intermittent Training comes to mind here. If you are biking, spend 30-45 seconds pushing as hard as you can, then ride normally for 5 minutes. If walking, take the same approach with Intermittent Training.

You can challenge yourself to stretch further than you usually do. Jump rope a minute longer, or jump faster. Hold a yoga pose longer than usual. Hold your breath for 30 seconds longer than usual (yes, breathwork counts as exercise because it stretches your lung capacity).

Your health hygiene fits into the hormesis category of life and vibrancy. I wrote about it here: Why You Want to Get Uncomfortable. It’s good to get uncomfortable, to push yourself a bit, to improve your health in multiple ways.

Your health hygiene will also improve your energy and immune system. What a great benefit as you continue down your path of life!

My preference is to do my health hygiene from the comfort of my own home, be it taking a walk, stretching, biking, strength training, or isometrics. I bend and squat, and stand up from a low seated position (the floor or a low chair) without using my hands to help me get up. Breathwork.

For the health hygiene, I do away from the house, I had joined the yoga class before COVID so that I could get some social contact in. I also join a friend for walks and hikes, or playing in the playground.

There are so many things you can do at home to stay fit!

Make your health hygiene as much a part of your day as your dental hygiene is and enjoy the benefits of increased energy, strength, stamina … and joy.

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