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    How to Exercise Without Visiting the Gym

         Many of us are conditioned to think that physical fitness is synonymous with having a gym membership. But it’s not. In fact, it’s very easy to exercise without visiting the gym. And there’s an upside, too. Exercising on your own allows you to customize your fitness routine based on your personal goals. That way, you can achieve individualized results that are difficult to come by with the one-size-fits-all machines you see in most gyms.
         So if the idea of trekking to the gym doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry. You don’t need to go to the gym for a good workout, anyway. Here are three simple ways to achieve your fitness goals on your own.  And you can incorporate them all into your exercise routine, no gym required!
        
    1. Explore Bodyweight Training
         Bodyweight training may be the quickest way for you to start reaching your fitness goals because it doesn’t require any equipment. It simply requires space, and not even much of that. Just move the coffee table, crank up the music, and start exercising.
        Bodyweight training is excellent for physical conditioning because it is very functional. It requires you to move multiple muscle groups in concert with other, unlike traditional gym machines that isolate one muscle or one group of muscles.
         When you think of bodyweight training, think of squat thrusts, mountain climbers and high knees. Jumping jacks. Butt kicks. Kickboxing. Any exercise that requires you to move your body without equipment is considered bodyweight training.
         Of course, if you are creating your own workout, there are a few things to keep in mind. Be sure that you remember to include an appropriate warm-up and cool down. Each should be about five minutes long. Your warm up should consist of joint mobility exercises, light cardio, and dynamic stretches. Your cool down should consist of relaxing static stretches for all the major muscle groups of the body.
         If you’re unsure of how to structure the workout itself, consider using timed intervals. Have a stop watch available, and structure your workout around work to rest ratios. For example, you can do squat thrusts for 30 seconds, then recover for 10 seconds. Then, jump right into mountain climbers for 30 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of recovery. This is a 3:1 work to rest ratio that you can perform for, say, 20 to 30 minutes. Or, if you’re a beginning exerciser, you could go for a 1:1 work to rest ratio, working for 30 seconds and then recovering for 30 seconds. Just listen to your body and structure your workouts appropriately.

    2. Build up your Stash of Fitness Equipment
         Believe it or not, this doesn’t require a lot of money, especially if you purchase used equipment. For starters, you’ll need a few exercise DVDs, some dumbbells, and a floor mat. These are all available new and used online, at local sporting goods discount stores, Craigslist, and yard sales. Here are a few tips to help you get started with each of the above items:
         a.Exercise DVDs: Do a little research before purchasing exercise DVDs, as some come more highly recommended than others. Explore the top rated DVDs on Amazon.com. Try a few through Netflix. Look around in a used book store, and build up your fitness DVD library over time.
         b.Dumbbells: Ideally, you’ll want to start with three pairs of dumbbells – light, medium, and heavy. Women might start with a set of 3-, 5-, and 8-pound dumbbells. Men might try a set of 5-, 8-, and 10-pound dumbbells. And look around. Dumbbells are often available at used sporting goods stores for as little as $.59/lb.
         c. A floor mat: This is necessary if you are working out on a hard surface or you require some additional traction or cushioning for your carpeted surface.
         After you’ve gotten the above items and have spent some time using them, you’ll likely want to branch out and explore other fitness equipment options, such as kettlebells, medicine balls, jump ropes, and aerobic steps. The great thing about many of the items listed here is that they don’t have to take up a lot of space. You can store them away neatly under a couch or bed without anyone knowing that your living room or bedroom is doubling as a home gym!

    3. Get Creative
         Start thinking creatively when you think about exercise. What fresh fitness idea can you come up with this week? Maybe you can find a way to incorporate fitness into some of your other activities. For example, when you take your kids to the park, can you jog a lap or two around the park while they play? Can you take your kettlebell with you?
        What about those books you have to take back to the library? You could toss the books in your backpack and ride your bike to the library instead of driving there. And how about the elderly woman down the street? She’d probably enjoy a leisurely Saturday morning walk around the neighborhood with you. And then there’s your old high school. You could run the bleachers in the football stadium just to prove to yourself that you’ve still got it!
     
        Reaching your fitness goals absolutely does not require a gym membership. If you get creative and do a little planning, you’ll find that there are many opportunities for you to exercise without visiting the gym.

     

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