13 Ways to Get Good Exercise Without a Gym

13 Ways to Get Good Exercise Without a Gym

Caitlin BonesteelCaitlin Bonesteel
Blogger at trainedbytoddlers.com | Mom of Two
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New Year’s Day is like Christmas Day for gyms- people resolve to get fit and lose weight, so they turn to what they know works. Gym memberships skyrocket in January and slump within a few months. Many people keep paying for a gym membership even if they’re going infrequently or not at all. There’s a stigma that feels like if you quit paying for a membership, you are a quitter. These gyms can rack up thousands of dollars over the course of the year, but somehow drowning in a gym membership seems easier than cutting the ties.

Now you may think I’m completely against gyms- I’m actually not. If you pay for a gym membership, use it and love it, then by all means keep doing it!! Gyms can be a stress relief and a break away from home or work life. I get that. What I am against is the thought that you can’t get fit and healthy without signing away the next year or two of your life (and wallet) away. Carving out money for a gym membership can be more than what some people (including myself!) can do, and it can be discouraging to feel like you won’t succeed unless you join a gym.


To fight that untruth, I thought I’d put together a list of 13 ways to exercise without spending hundreds of dollars on a gym membership, so you have no excuse but to get moving! Add your no-gym exercise idea in the comments!

  • Running– This is my favorite gym alternative. It’s completely free and all you need is comfy shoes and a small outdoor space to run around in.  When you’re being stingy frugal and cannot possibly bring yourself to spend the money on a gym, you realize that paying to use a treadmill is the same as running around outside, but running outside gives you the chance to enjoy the outdoors.
  • Baby as Weights– If you have a baby, you have a free set of weights right on your hip! Babies make great weight, typically weighing between 10-20 pounds and they grow as your strength grows. Tommie Nichole has some great baby exercises, and there are lots more YouTube videos if you want some ideas.
  • Outdoor Games with Kids– What are some of the outdoor games you played as a kid? Dodgeball, chase, 3-legged races, relay races… so many good games we completely ditch as adults! Round up the family for some good ol’ fashioned Saturday fun together.
  • Join a Sports League– I grew up going to softball games and line dancing classes with my parents. It was so cool watching my parents continue to be not just socially active but physically active as well. Many churches and recreation centers have sports teams and classes for adults so that your kids can come to your games each week!
  • Run Stairs– I have a set of 5 stairs attached to my house. That means I have 5 free stairs I can run up and down for several minutes, building endurance and leg strength. What about you? Do you have underutilized free stairs??
  • Neighborhood Walking– My absolute favorite exercise memories are of my friend and I walking around our hilly neighborhood. Chatting with her while huffing and puffing was so out of character for this deep introvert. Grab a friend and set a time to go walking every day in your neighborhood- you can even take the kids if you’re feeling brave!
  • DVD Workouts– When it gets too cold or inconvenient to go outside, DVD workouts are my go-to. I personally love Jillian Michaels, but I’ve also done some great P90 from Beachbody. There are limitless amounts of DVD workouts, so find one that’s right for you and you have an action packed workout right from home.
  • Hiking– Hiking doesn’t seem that exercise-ish until you get going. Many trails have hills, climbing, rough terrain, and long loops back to civilization. Find a hiking buddy and get going!
  • Bike Riding– I know not all bikes are created equal, but if you’re new to biking you can get a bike for much less than a yearly gym membership and have some fun along the way! Have fun exploring real life instead of racing the static bike in a gym.
  • YouTube Videos/Mini Quick Fits– There are thousands of fitness loving people (like her or her) that throw up quick YouTube videos or mini quick fits that you can use to fit a little exercise time in whenever you’re free.
  • Group Workouts– I went by our state house early in the morning this past weekend, and the coolest group workout was happening. A group of 10-15 people had gathered and were working out together. Start or join a group like this to have accountability and fun!
  • Laps at a Pool– If you’re one of the lucky ones that have a private pool or a community pool, why not take some time to intentionally exercise in the pool? Laps in a pool are cool (temperature-wise), low impact, but highly effective.
  • Gym-at-Home Kits– You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on gym memberships when you can spend much less on weight sets, kettlebells, yoga mats, yoga balls, resistance bands and all kinds of at-home gym equipment. Pick one or two kinds and you can do a whirlwind of exercises!

There are so many creative ways to exercise without a gym. This is a small list of ways I could think of, but the world is your playground! Don’t be discouraged if you can’t bring yourself to pay for a gym membership- you can get fit and save money. Which one will you try this week??

What would you add to the list? Comment with your favorite no-gym exercise!

This post was originally posted at trainedbytoddlers.com on 3/18/2016.

Caitlin BonesteelAbout Caitlin Bonesteel

Caitlin started her blog Trained By Toddlers in 2015 after she and her husband Chadd lost 150 pounds together and completely changed their lifestyle. She’s traded lazy Saturday afternoons for running after her daughter Parker and her son Grayson. Caitlin loves introducing people to a healthier, balanced life. When she’s not being a blogger/mom/wife, Caitlin loves kayaking, reading books, sipping chai lattes and perfecting Pinterest fails.
You can also find Caitlin on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

View all posts by Caitlin Bonesteel here.

One Comment on “13 Ways to Get Good Exercise Without a Gym”

  1. These are all great tips,we can get lots of exercise in a day if we didn’t do most things the lazy way it is for me most days !

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