5 ways to be active without going to the gym
Sometimes it’s the little things that we do matter
You can see an entire generation becoming more and more aware of the importance of exercise in life. Some people are making it their life’s goal to exercise whereas some are trying to incorporate it in their lives as much as they can. Some of us are still struggling to fit it in since it wasn’t a norm from day 1 in our lives. This isn’t entirely because we do not get the time, it is a combination of lack of time, mental or physical energy, stress and no motivation to move around. For people like me who work a desk job and have innumerable zoom calls during the week, where just turning your camera on takes effort, not having energy to exercise at the end of the day is more of a mental block than physical.
Even other professionals, homemakers, small business owners have succumbed to their mundane life of repeated activities with little to no personal meetings with anyone and being restricted to be within the house almost everyday.
The COVID lockdown which started with making banana bread, dalgona coffee and homemade pizza from scratch has turned into weight gain, increase in stress levels and social anxiety. If gym isn’t your cup of tea for any reason, of which there could be many, this article is for you.
Being alone in a big city during the peak of the pandemic with gyms closed and literally no friends around, I had to create a plan to keep myself sane. I have listed a few tried and tested things below that worked for me and hopefully would work for you too.
- First thing in the morning
Go for a walk, a quick run or do a 15 minute spurt of high intensity exercise, but do it first thing in the morning after you complete your bathroom routine. You may ask why it has to be the first thing in the morning. The reason is simple because IT IS SIMPLE. It is the first thing you do in the morning by waking up 30 minutes earlier than your usual time. Or cutting out the 15 minutes you spend on social media in the morning sitting on the toilet. You don’t have to plan, find additional time, you just have to do what you decided to do. All you have to do is step out. If an activity in the morning sits on the difficult end of the scale for you, then starting with a simple walk would be the easiest way to go about it. Just step out the door. That is all that you have to do. Your body will figure out the rest.
2. Take a break
Get up every 30 minutes from your desk and move around for a minute. If you follow the pomodoro method of working (I know I mention it a lot about it but believe me it is highly efficient), you get a 5 minute break every 25 minutes or a 10 minute break every 50 minutes, depending on how you plan your schedule. Walk around the house/ apartment depending on how big your house is, or stretch in one place. Sitting in the same location for hours together can lead to slouching, bad posture and eventually back or neck pains. Stretching definitely helps with better posture, relaxing your tensed shoulders and also with the blood flow.
3. Walk with your partner/ pet or kids
Basically you can see the trend here. Moving your body is the goal. And walking is the simplest yet the most effective form of movement for your body. I say most effective, because it is that one movement that people can keep up with in the long term and under various situations. You can go for a walk literally anywhere and everywhere (of course a safe neighborhood, goes without saying), most of the time around the year, with or without someone, with or without music, with no extra equipment and even with very little energy or desire. And all that is for free. Just step out of the house and see how wonderful it is out there.
4. Pick your favorite
I can already see some people raising their eyebrows to this one but this one worked for me. When I started working out regularly in 2016 I started with running. All I did was run everyday for 3 miles. I only ran a mile and I walked the rest but that consistency of stepping out of the house got my body moving. A lot of times people start with complicated forms of exercises without proper guidance in the whim of excitement and soon enough aren’t able to keep up with it and quit.
If you are starting alone, I recommend starting with picking up one form of exercise you can do continuously for a month. It can be 50 squats, 20 push ups, 10 min of jump rope or a simple 30 minute walk. Don’t complicate it. You don’t need a leg day, an arm day, you just need to start moving and achieving that 1 item for the day. Make it your day.
5. Work and personal calls
If your work is anything like mine and you are on office audio calls throughout the day, try to move around in the ones where you don’t need screen interaction. Town Halls, department level huddles, where all you do is listen to the leadership team can be done while taking a stroll outside or just walking in your own apartment. Even on the weekends or weekday evenings when you are talking to family or friends, step out of the house while on that call, killing two birds with one stone. Walking and talking is never a bad idea, of course, making sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times.
In summation, below are the tips you need to remember. Sometimes it’s the little things that we do matter
- Move your body first thing in the morning, to give you that extra adrenaline for the day
- Take multiple breaks during the day to stretch and relax
- Walk with a friend, colleague, partner, pet or alone. Just walk around
- Pick one form of exercise to start your journey. Don’t complicate it
- Remote work in today’s time can be a bliss. Make the most of it by not sticking to the chair. Get up and move
Let me know how you feel about these ideas and add any additional tips that you found helpful.