How to Stay Fit and Healthy, Even When You Don’t Love the Gym

woman sitting on yoga mat in living room with laptop, stretching
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It’s really easy to dislike the gym.

I’m absolutely not knocking anyone who loves to hit the gym and sweat it out. Actually, I envy those people. I’d love to be like that.

I just don’t have time to be one of those people. I barely have enough time in my day to eat dinner.

After a long, exhausting day of work, kids, pets, housework, appointments… I’m somehow supposed to carve out extra time in my schedule for the gym. You want me to squeeze into spandex, leave the comfort of my home, and run a few miles on a treadmill after the day I’ve had?!

And as for morning workouts, I’d like to see you pry me out of those sheets early. I barely get enough sleep as is (it’s that busy schedule, again), so there’s no way I’m hitting the weights at 6 a.m. instead of snoozing.

Not going to the gym had me feeling all sorts of ways. I might sound lazy, but I truly do like to be in shape. I just can’t find the time or motivation.

But as it turns out, you don’t have to ever step foot into a gym to get into shape. You can actually be fit without feeling like working out is such a chore. Okay, it’s still kind of a chore… but a fun one that I can actually squeeze into my day!

Change the Way You Think About Exercise

First and foremost, you need to change the way you think about exercise and set goals outside of weight loss. Sure, weight loss can carry some motivation, but it shouldn’t be your only reason for getting active.

Set yourself some goals that help give you a sense of accomplishment and confidence. It can be a goal of mastery, like being able to do 5 push-ups in a row for the first time, or the ability to finally kick it up that steep hill without getting winded!

Find Something You Enjoy

Getting fit doesn’t always have to mean climbing onto a machine or lifting weights — especially if you don’t enjoy it. Instead, you’ll find it much easier to stay active if you’re doing something you actually like.

For instance, if you love swimming, take the plunge! Swimming might be fun, but it’s also an incredible workout that will get your heart and lungs going, improve core strength, and (in case weight loss is still on your list) it burns an insane amount of calories.

Personally, I keep it basic with walks around the neighborhood while I drink my morning coffee. I get my kicks looking at plants and landscaping in my neighbors’ yards. Meeting all the neighborhood cats is an added bonus.

YouTube Yoga

I like yoga, but most days I don’t have time to get to a yoga studio. Instead of ditching the practice, why not do it on your own time when you can squeeze it in? Thanks to YouTube, there are countless channels and teachers making yoga at home a breeze. Plus, no one’s around to see if you didn’t wash your hair today!

On that same note, you can find plenty of other instructor-led workouts online, too. From free stuff on YouTube to streaming fitness channels like Daily Burn and Peloton, there’s an option for everyone. You’ll find fun cardio dance workouts, resistance band workouts, Pilates, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and everything in between.

Work Out When You Can

Staying active doesn’t always have to mean spending a chunk of time working out. You can split it up however you need to. This can mean doing squats while you brush your teeth or doing jumping jacks while you wait for your lunch in the microwave. Take a break from your desk to walk a lap around the block, or dance to your favorite song while you wait on that email.

While you’re away from home, you can squeeze in a little workout here and there, too. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park a little further away from the store.

By the end of the day, your routine didn’t change — but you got plenty of extra activity!

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