There are countless reasons why a gym membership is not always feasible. Maybe your commute is too far, maybe you refuse to pay the outrageous prices, maybe you are shuttling kids from point A to point B and don’t have the time, or maybe you genuinely do not enjoy working out in a gym setting. Whatever the case may be, rest easy knowing you can still get a great workout without the commitment of a membership. All it takes is a little imagination and self-discipline.

  • If you live in an apartment or housing complex, the clubhouses are usually complete with a complimentary fitness center available for residents. Take advantage of these because chances are that most of your neighbors do not, giving you the room to yourself nine out of ten times you visit. They are typically stocked with all the basic equipment needed to get a well-rounded workout, and most stay open 24 hours a day.

  • If you do not live in an area with a fitness center, don’t worry, there are still plenty of options for you! Walking and running require nothing more than the pavement outside your home, and in return, offer numerous health benefits. Map out a short route you are familiar with and begin with basic walks or jogs. Once it begins to feel easy, or when you feel comfortable, slowly add time and distance to each outing.

  • You can also make a workout double as a fun, family outing. Take the dog for a long walk, hop on your bikes for a ride, or play a game of football, soccer, or basketball. You will have fun and eliminate the dread of a workout, replacing it with fond memories with the family. Multitasking at its finest.

  • In addition to basic cardio, work in a few rounds of calisthenics and body weight exercises. These can range from 15 to 30 second intervals of push-ups, jumping jacks, lunges, and basically any exercises you remember from PE in school. Keep a stopwatch or your phone timer close by and choose a handful of exercises to perform back-to-back each interval without stopping. Repeat these sets as necessary until you feel like you have reached your personal limit. Again, once it becomes easy, add time to the intervals. This requires absolutely no equipment and can be done anywhere in your home.

  • If you enjoy heavy lifting, or want to incorporate weight training, there are many household items that will suffice. Large canned goods, water bottles, and laundry detergent or commercial sized jugs can be used in place of dumbbells for upper body workouts. Books and basketballs can be used as an alternative to medicine balls for core work such as abdominal twists, and a full laundry basket can be used for more advanced moves such as dead lifts and squats. Even your dining room chairs can serve as workout partners. Use them for stability and balance exercises, one-legged lunges, or calf raises.

  • If you are not keen on any of the former ideas, there are still countless options. If you have a set of stairs in or around your home, I am excited to tell you that these can provide an entire workout alone! You can run stairs, use them for raised lunges, raised pushups, tricep dips, and much, much more. Of course, you are not limited to your home, stadium stairs and bleachers will work just as well. Which is great if you have a park near your home, or you frequent athletic fields for a child’s sports practices.

Take a look around your home and you will be amazed at the functionality of items you never knew had more than one purpose. Get creative and find what works best for you and gives you the type of workout you desire. Also keep in mind, there are plenty of online videos and tutorials for home based workouts should you run out of ideas, or need a change of pace.

So don’t let your naked keychain, with the missing membership card dangling from it, define you. While everyone else is forking over half their monthly paychecks to corporate gyms, you will be getting the same workout from the comfort of your own home.

Micah Larsen

Micah is a traveling swim coach and personal trainer, depending on the season. She is also currently working on her Master of Science in Athletic Administration and Coaching. Micah loves to live an active lifestyle, whether she is competing in open water swims, running a road race, practicing yoga, or biking with her dogs. The main objective in her career is to... Read More

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