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Issue 56: Does Your Gym Membership Need a Bailout?

Gearing up for a new year by getting a gym membership? Not so fast. If you are like most folks nowadays, you may not have the budget for a membership of any sort—let alone one at the gym.

You still want to keep fit, however, and with a little creativity and utilization of your surroundings, you can. Here’s how:

Take In the Great Outdoors
Your options outside are only limited by your imagination. From the simplest form of exercise—walking—to the more complex such as running or rock climbing, there are several different activities you can do outside. Here are just a few:

  • Walking. This exercise is great for anyone, requires no equipment and works the major muscle groups in your legs. If running isn’t your thing, you can try to intersperse your fast-paced walking routine with some jogging. Chances are that you’ll increase your total calories burned and bump up your cardiovascular benefits.
  • Running. Running is great for anyone who doesn’t have joint problems or excessive weight they are carrying. If you aren’t a seasoned runner, start slowly and try running for just 5-10 minutes at a time at first. Running burns a ton of calories and works the major muscle groups in your legs.
  • Cycling. Why sit on a bike that doesn’t go anywhere (a stationary bike) when you can get outside and take in the beautiful scenery as well as the fresh air? Try road or mountain biking in safe areas and away from traffic, when possible.
  • Hiking. Hiking trails are not only serene, but hiking can also provide a great workout for your thighs, calves and hamstrings. Grab a friend and hit the local trails for an enjoyable afternoon.

Or, if you want to mix it up a bit, you can also work out at home.

Stick Close to the Home Front. Working out at home is the epitome of convenience. For instance, as soon as you get home from work and put dinner on the stove, you can start doing pushups while you wait for your food to cook. Doing aerobic work pretty much requires a stationary bike, treadmill or elliptical machine unless you pull out the old standard—a jump rope—or pop in one of thousands of exercise videos on the market (or maybe tucked away in your closet), including those on functional fitness.

As for stretching and strengthening, however, you can choose from a myriad of videos (yoga, Pilates and more), use your own body’s resistance, or use exercise bands.

Use Your Body for Resistance. You can do a number of exercises and tone your muscles just by using your bodyweight for resistance. Push-ups (or partial push-ups), stomach crunches, squats, lunges, triceps dips and pull-ups can all be done at home (pull-ups require a bar you mount in a door). Think creatively. If you add dumbbells, you could also do bicep curls, additional chest exercises and more. For additional ideas on workouts from home try using a resistance band or a stability ball.

So there you have it—creative options for avoiding the gym, but still getting a workout.


This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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