Exercise without a gym

The gym can be a fantastic place to perform a huge variety of exercises, but it’s not for everyone. So how can you exercise without a gym or the equipment they provide? Easily! There are a variety of exercise types, with the most common being cardiovascular, resistance training, stretching and mobility. With all exercise, be sure to consult with a trained professional to assess your risk and make sure you are performing the exercises correctly before beginning.

Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio, can be completed at home or outside. Going for a walk is one of the most common forms of cardio. It can be made easier or harder by simply modifying the intensity. Jogging and running are great forms of cardio that only require open space and some decent shoes. Performing intervals of faster speeds and slower speeds can be a great way to build up your cardio fitness. Try beginning with short duration faster intervals, then slowly shorten your rest periods over time to build up your fitness. If you are indoors, try running on the spot or aerobic style actions such as shadow punching, high knees, side to side stepping, ski jumps and jumping jacks.

Resistance training is defined as exercising a muscle or muscle group against an external resistance, meaning your body weight can be just as good as the weights a gym user may utilize. Squats for example incorporate the biggest muscle groups in the body and can have a range of positive outcomes. Lunges are another great exercise which uses large muscle groups of the lower limbs and has a range of variations which can be done anywhere without any equipment. Push ups are a perfect resistance-based exercise that can be done anywhere, with variations allowing for all levels of strength. For example, completing pushups on your toes can be difficult for many, so doing the exercise on your knees can help reduce the intensity as can performing the exercise on a bench or similar surface with the higher the surface, the easier the exercise. Abdominal exercises are important to consider and require no equipment. Simple curl ups, bugs legs, bicycles and many more only require a flat surface.

Stretching exercises can have a wide variety of benefits and can be done at home with minimal fuss. When stretching a particular muscle group, you should feel some discomfort as the muscle stretches but not pain. For example, the standing hamstring stretch is a great one for people who have an office job and are seated for long periods, and can be completed whilst brushing your teeth. Improving the mobility of upper and lower body musculature or the amount of movement around a joint can be done easily at home or in a park and requires no equipment.

So remember gym membership may provide tools in your exercise arsenal, but exercising at home or outside is only limited by your imagination.

Timothy Hanson  AEP ESSA
Exercise Physiologist

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