So you want to get moving to burn more calories and fat and help to increase the effectiveness of your medical weight loss program. But you don’t belong to a gym and aren’t interested in joining one, whether because of the cost, the inconvenience (there’s no gym located in your area), or because you don’t feel comfortable. Or maybe you do have a gym membership, but can’t get there as often as you’d like. Not to worry! There are many ways to get fit without setting foot in a gym. Here are a few you can try to keep your body moving. (Note: Check with your physician before starting any sort of exercise program.)
- Participate in group activities. Whether you have a passion for dancing or for sports, you can find a group or class where you can have fun while burning calories. Check online or in your neighborhood café or community center for notices about organized activities you can join, from tai chi to an amateur softball league. Or find a studio or center near you that offers classes that interest you, from salsa dancing to Zumba.
- Get a jump rope and resistance band. You don’t need fancy, expensive equipment to help trim and tone your body. A jump rope is the most portable piece of cardio equipment around. Use it to exercise in your basement or pack it into your suitcase on a trip away from home. Resistance bands are the perfect complement to the jump rope; they help you stretch and sculpt your muscles. You can adjust the amount of tension you need as your fitness level progresses so you’re always getting a good workout, anywhere and anytime.
- Keep your house clean. Believe it or not, walking around the house with a vacuum cleaner or stretching and bending to dust can burn calories as well as keep you limber. In fact, a 150-pound person may burn up to 150 calories vacuuming for half an hour – maybe the best reason ever to keep your home dust-free!
- Start a garden. If you have outdoor space where you can plant, you can work your muscles and burn some calories digging in the dirt. Weeding for about half an hour can burn up to 160 calories and challenge those often-neglected arm muscles.
- Try exergames. Though recent studies show that using video exercise games such as those found on the Wii Fit or the Microsoft Xbox Kinect are not as physically demanding as outside sports or other physical activity, they still get your body moving more than just sitting on the couch. Evidence suggests these exercise games may be particularly beneficial for older adults who would like to improve their balance and flexibility.
- Go for a walk. Sometimes the simplest exercise is also the best. Walking is a great way to burn calories for just about everyone. It’s low-impact, so it doesn’t unduly stress the joints, and it can be done anywhere. To track your progress, buy an inexpensive pedometer that will tell you how many steps you’ve walked that day. That way you can set goals to increase your fitness level going forward.