If the various lockdowns have taught us anything, it's that we don't need to go to a gym to get fit!
When gyms first reopened after the first lockdown, we asked our members if their exercise habits had changed. A staggering 76% said they would continue working out at home or outdoors instead. There's no doubt a gym environment energises some people – with 13% of our members desperate to get back – but for others, it's not so essential. If you're amongst the 76% who discovered other ways to get fit, this one is for you! Here are 6 ways to get fit without setting foot in a gym.
And I don't just mean day to day! If you have stairs in your house or apartment, use these to your advantage. Stair climbing is a great workout to improve your cardio, as well as targeting your bum, thighs and calves to help build strength and tone.
Try simply walking or jogging up and down them (be super careful not to trip!). Or do step-ups using the bottom one or two stairs, to work on your lower body strength. You can even use stairs to do incline push-ups, which helps you work up to doing traditional push-ups on a flat surface.
Now more than ever you can access an array of free workout videos online. There are apps which offer free content – just search for free workout apps in the App Store or Google Play, or search on YouTube for a workout of your choice. From yoga to HIIT, you're sure to find something that suits you. For the ultimate convenience, follow in the comfort of your own home and at any time you like – no travelling or fees required.
Nothing beats the great outdoors for some fresh air and exercise. When the weather permits, grab your walking shoes and get outside for some free cardio. A brisk 30 minute walk at least 5 times a week ensures we meet the recommended weekly activity for health. Step this up a gear to a jog or longer walk, and you're smashing it!
If you're not a runner but would like to be, the Couch to 5K programme is a great place to start – and can be achieved simply by stepping out your front door. Find the details of the programme here.
While we're on the subject of getting outdoors, why not nip down to your local green space and do a little exercise circuit? Some parks now have free-to-use gym equipment – so you can build these into your workout. If not, simply using the space available and do your own circuit workout, you don't need any equipment – start with some shuttle runs up and down the park to warm up, then bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges and push-ups. Find a nearby bench to do some dips or step ups, and up the tempo with some great cardio moves like burpees and jumping jacks to really get your blood pumping.
If you really want to invest in at-home workouts, buying some simple equipment will help add variety to your exercise. Items like skipping ropes, resistance bands and small hand weights are easy to store and can really help you ramp up the intensity of your workouts as you progress. Or if you have the space, nothing beats a hula-hoop for a fun way to burn calories!
I'm sure many of us work up a sweat with our weekly clean anyway! But if you really want to cash in on this essential chore, step it up a gear and really burn some calories. Stick your favourite tunes on and dance while you clean! This can end up being quite the workout – while also making the dull cleaning jobs much more interesting! Two birds, one stone.
Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.