Tired of paying every month for your gym membership? Maybe it’s time to think about all the wonderful things you can do for your body in the great outdoors.
Of course, your ability to stay fit with an outdoor regimen depends on where you live. In San Diego where a hot day is 73 degrees for a high and a cold day is 72 degrees, it’s a lot easier playing in the great outdoors without oppressive summer heat or bitterly cold winters.
But even if you do live in a place that has less than ideal weather, with a little creativity, there are countless ways to keep yourself in great shape, without ever walking into a gym. Here are just a few:
1: Look For Common Areas That Offer Unique Physical Training For All
Most communities now have parks with outdoor fitness courses that, followed regularly, can easily give you the complete workout you’re looking for. Seek out places to jog, walk, climb, or shoot a few hoops. Working your core group of muscles is the primary objective. Why not do it the way nature intended?
2: Join A Group Sport
Playing with others is a great way to stay motivated. Some are obvious—like softball leagues, distance walking clubs, or running groups. But many are less obvious, like joining a rowing or cycling club, taking an outdoor Thai Chi class, or joining a rollerskating meet-up. In fact, MeetUp.com or Craigist are two places to start, so get moving.
3: There Are Plenty Of Stairs Outdoors, Too
Near my home in San Francisco’s Presidio Heights neighborhood, there is a set of outdoor steps called the Lyon Street Steps. Anytime from early in the morning until the last moments of vanishing daylight you can see people charging up these two steep sets of steps. On the broad street that separates those steps there is a quiet cul de sac where people do jumping jacks, push-ups and stretches. And here in one of America’s most affluent neighborhoods, this love of outdoors is not driven by the hope saving the cost of a monthly gym membership but rather a desire to breath the fresh air you cannot find in any enclosed over used and often noisy gym.
Commonly, you see people going from zero to sixty when they set their minds on a workout program. This does not have to be the case. Remember that the essential element of fitness is movement and moving more is as simple as cultivating new healthier habits. For example, parking at the furthest space from work or any destination to taking the steps up to your office or apartment rather than taking the elevator is a great way to start.
For use at home there are a dozen great inexpensive exercise and stretching aids from foam rollers to roll up yoga mats to strength building rope bands which can give you a full workout. All of these in-home workout aids and slip into a small corner of any closet for quick and easy storage.
That said, there are some distinct benefits that you will find only with a gym. While it’s of course true that many people pay 30 or 40 dollars for their monthly gym membership and do little if anything with it ,you have a larger number of individuals who feel motivated to see some good come of their investment, and they therefore bring themselves to the gym two or more times a week knowing that simply by the act of walking through the door they are going to do something that will be good for their overall fitness.
To paraphrase Woody Allen, 90 percent of success is just showing up.
The bottom line: you can only look to yourself to provide the motivation you need to make fitness a priority, and therefore a reality, in your life. Outside or inside, you can get fit and stay fit—provided that being in great shape is a priority for you.