3 Ways to Start a Fitness Routine (That Don’t Involve Joining a Gym)

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Gyms have a lot to offer their members, like weight rooms, cardio machines, and group classes for just about every type of fitness you can think of. Some gyms even take it a step further and deck their buildings out with tanning beds and smoothie bars, making that initial $20 sign-up fee look pretty enticing. Still, the gym isn’t the best fit for everyone.

When I first started my own fitness journey, the mere idea of stepping foot inside of a gym filled me with panic. Of course I now understand how ridiculous I was. The gym is for everyone, not just the most chiseled and physically fit among us. Even though I’m now quite a big fan of gyms (hello weight room!) not everyone feels the same way. Whether you’re just starting to get into exercise or are looking for alternatives to the gym, here are 3 ways to keep yourself fit without a membership.

Hit up YouTube.
YouTube has more fitness and exercise videos than most people could ever watch in a lifetime. Best of all, you can find videos for all levels of fitness, in a range of lengths, and for just about any exercise you can think of. Yes, I checked, there is Jazzercise.

Watching fitness videos on YouTube allows you to start out exercising in the comfort of your own home and to only focus on what you’re able to. Only have 15 minutes before you need to hop in the shower? No worries, you’ll find something. If you’re still not sure where to start, check out some of my personal favorite channels: FitnessBlender, Yoga With Adriene, and blogilates.

Adopt a dog!
Not everyone lives somewhere where they can reasonably have a dog, but for those who can, this is a win-win situation. You get a fitness buddy, and a dog gets a loving home. Start out by taking your new, four-legged friend on walks around the neighborhood, or try a nature trail or a local walking path. When you and your pup are ready, you can even start adding running intervals!

My dog is my running partner, and perhaps the best type of running partner there is. Sadly, for some reason, my 60 pound, Australian Cattle mix dog is absolutely terrified of other dogs. She was a rescue, so I’m sure there’s something icky in her past, but the upside? Whenever we pass a fence with a dog she runs faster, and so do I. Thanks for helping me set new personal records, CeCe!

Buy an audiobook, but set restrictions.
A lot of sticking to a fitness routine is keeping at it even when the motivation isn’t there. That’s right, sometimes you just have to get up and do it. A lot of trainers suggest enlisting a workout buddy that you can’t bail on, but you know what? Some of us just want to stay fit by ourselves, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Instead, download an audiobook onto your smart phone and commit to listening to it only when you’re exercising. Whether you’re heading out for a walk or doing a YouTube video that you’re already familiar with, wondering what comes next can be a great motivator to keep you on track.

Starting a new fitness routine can be overwhelming at first, so remember to take it easy. Even committing one day a week to being active is still better than doing nothing at all. Use these strategies to get yourself moving and committed to a new, fit lifestyle.

CaitlinLane (1)Caitlin Lane is a writer and runner who lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband and 2 kids. When she isn’t brewing coffee or buying more books than she can read, she blogs at All About Growing Up and Becoming a Famous Author and tweets @ifyoureadreamer.

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