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How to exercise without joining a gym!

Updated: May 22, 2019

Public Health England recommends that we do 150 minutes of moderately intense activity a week in at least 10 minute bursts. In 2017 a survey found that the average gym membership cost £47 a month with 32% of people using their gym less than 3 times a year , that equates to roughly £188 a visit or as I would put it a really nice weekend away.

Given that people are dutifully paying their memberships each month this indicates that cost is not the only barrier to being more active. Within this blog I am going to share with you my ideas about how to make exercise sustainable without paying for a gym.

Get in the habit of walking more.

You don't need to run to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Regular walking in women is shown to reduce the risks of cardiovascular health problems Regular walking also improves glucose tolerance which enables your body to appropriately use sugars as energy. The risk of injury is much lower then in running so it is likely to be sustainable and fitted into your routine.

If you walk at a pace in which your heart rate raises this is a great way of maintaining your health without getting uncomfortably sweaty and without any cost. You can walk more by either setting aside time to “go for a walk” or by making changes to your routine so that you are getting a few extra steps in each day.

So lets thing about “going for a walk” Can you visualise somewhere by you that would be nice to see? Or are there places near you that you have not been to. Setting aside 30 minutes each day to walk. Rather than eating a sandwich at your desk go for a lunchtime walk, or when you get in before you put your feet up go for a stroll. If you are nursing a baby, sooth your child by tasking her out in a pram or sling.

Geese and nest
Head out to a lake to feed the birds

Increasing your steps.

There are plenty of ways of increasing your steps a few simple ones include:

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift. This quick change in habit can have a great impact.

  • Park your car as far away in the car park from the entrance that you can (The advantage of this is that there is more likely to be a space too).

  • Get off the bus a stop early.

  • Think about what you can nip out to buy from the local shops rather than doing in your big shop (this will have the bonus of helping the local economy)

  • If you are sitting for the majority of the day set a reminder for every hour to go to get a glass of water

Mindfully do more during tasks around the house.

Get active with gardening

There are so many opportunities to be mobile and practice your flexibility, posture and strength your home can be your gym.

As you get up and down, avoid propping your hand on your knee, instead draw your belly towards your spine and think about being strong and stable.

When in the kitchen avoid leaning and popping against work surfaces and stand tall.

When going to pick something off the floor can you do it in a lunge or heels on the floor squat position.

As your are gardening, doing DIY or housework be mindful how you PUSH, PULL, LIFT,


Go Play

It's not just 8 year olds in the park that need to play, we need to feel safe and learn to enjoy moving our bodies sometimes this is best done when, instead of mindfully moving and paying attention , it just happens that movement is a by product of doing something interesting.

Dancing is the obvious choice, have a look for local classes or places to go and dance.

Less obvious hobbies could be things like baking. If you have ever stood and attempted to hand knead a loaf for 12 minutes you will realise how elevated your heat rate can become and how strong your arms will be.

I have a friend who offers blacksmithing lessons - there is not a harder strength workout than attempting to hammer a horseshoe!

I've talked before about the benefits of being outdoors but hobbies outside can really help create a sense of wellbeing.

Have a think about the opportunities to play outdoors? Does your park have an outdoor gym? Go on a treasure hunt and have a go at Geocashing. I recently went on a Foraging course so now when I am out walking I am constantly scanning for edible plants.

Wild mint
Foraging for Mint

Get Home Personal Training

Hire ME if you want personal training in Solihull! This may appear tongue in cheek but if you are struggling to be more active within your daily routine, a small investment in a personal trainer in your own home can help exercise become a habit as you will learn the skills of what you can achieve in your own home and every time you are in that room you will associate it with being more active. My phone number is 07899798933

For £160 for a month’s bespoke wellbeing package you will get individual sessions, programs and advice tailored to your needs and goals delivered in a way that you can utilise your new skills within your home and everyday routine.

In you don't need someone to guide you on what exercises to do to meet your goals or to be accountable to then you could set up your own regular workout at home.

In next week's blog I will be covering some of my favourite no kit no problem exercises that you can do at home.

Sarah is an Occupational Therapist and personal trainer who is passionate about helping people flourish @MoodLifterPT She is always happy to be contacted if you want to find out more.

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