If You Despise the Gym, Try These 9 Calorie-Burning Activities Instead

Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN

Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, providing education and support prior to and following weight loss surgery.

Are you looking for ways to increase exercise without stepping foot in a crowded, intimidating gym? After weight loss surgery, taking on physical activity can be challenging — not just because of strength but also anxiety from not knowing what to do or finding the time to devote to it. Identifying exercises that are comfortably within your reach while working the muscles and raising your heart rate is essential. Lucky for you, there are plenty of fun activities that don't require expensive equipment or gym memberships! Look no further — here are 9 convenient tips on how to exercise without stepping into a gym!

1) Go for a walk or a run. One of the simplest ways to begin or increase exercise is to go for a walk or a run. You don’t need any equipment! You can do it anywhere, and it’s a great way to get your heart rate up and breathe in some fresh air. Just be sure to have a quality pair of walking shoes to start. Don’t forget to take a walking buddy! Having a friend or two join in can help keep you accountable and can be just as much a social activity as it is an exercise.

2) Do some yard work. Yard work is a great way to exercise without even realizing it. And it gets you outdoors for some sunshine! Mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and gardening are great activities that can help you burn calories and increase your heart rate.

3) Take the stairs. Whenever possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator. This is a great way to get in extra steps, elevate your heart rate, gain lower body strength, and burn fat! Pretty soon, you’ll be able to feel yourself building endurance, and it won’t seem like such a feat.

4) Dance. Dancing is a great way to have fun and get exercise at the same time. Turn on your favorite music and let loose — you’ll be surprised at how many calories you can burn! Not to mention it’s great for your mental health! Your smart TV is a great resource for finding instructional videos you can follow. This might be the perfect opportunity to learn how to do Zumba, salsa, or line dancing!

5) Play with your kids or pets. Playing with your kids, grandkids, or pets is a great way to get active and have fun at the same time. Go walking with the dog, ride bikes with your kids, or go to the park to take advantage of the recreational areas. Without even realizing it, you’re exercising!

6) Clean the house. Cleaning the house may not be the most fun activity, but it’s a great way to get in some extra activity. Think of all the steps you take while vacuuming, mopping, dusting, and completing other household chores. No matter what you’re doing, you’re active and burning calories!

7) Take a fitness class online or use a smart TV. There are tons of fitness classes available online that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Whether you want to do yoga, beginner exercises, HIIT, or a little dancing, there’s sure to be a class that fits your needs. And you don’t even have to leave your living room!

8) Park further away. When running errands or going to work, park further away from your destination than usual. The extra distance will force you to walk further, which is a great way to get in additional steps and burn extra calories.

9) Invest in home workout equipment. If you really don't like the idea of going to the gym and have some extra space in your home or garage, invest in a few pieces of equipment. A treadmill, elliptical, or recumbent bike can be great for cardiovascular exercise, while a weight bench and a few weights can do the trick for strength training exercises. Other valuable tools often used include resistance bands and a yoga mat.

While the gym can be a great option, sometimes people aren't comfortable in that setting. And that’s okay! Try various activities solo, with friends, or with family. Find things you enjoy, and do them consistently. Incorporating ways to get your heart pumping and muscles working is what’s important.

BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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