Hate the gym? Here are 8 other ways to exercise

Swimming can burn between 240 and 355 calories in a half hour, Harvard Medical School says. PeopleImages/Getty Images

Not everyone enjoys going to the gym. Some may find the repetitiveness of machine workouts boring, while others see going to the gym as more of a chore – whatever the reason, the gym isn’t for everyone.

But just because you stay away from the gym, it doesn’t mean you still can’t get the exercise you need to stay healthy and fit.

READ MORE: Your gym equipment is covered in bacteria – but can it make you sick?

“All and any exercise is good for you,” personal trainer Shara Vigeant of SVP Fitness & Athletics says. “Fitness and exercise can be fun – you have to actually enjoy what you are doing to make it fun.”

There are a lot of other methods and activities that can be fun and engaging and can help you reach your New Year’s fitness goals now and all year round.

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“I have found that clients that keep exercise in their life long-term and consistently, enjoy a variety of exercise – a blend of gym and other activities,” Vigeant says. “Variety keeps boredom at bay, and fitness with friends keeps it fun. This will all lead to consistency.”

Global News spoke with Vigeant who revealed some of the benefits associated with other physical activities. One is bound to tickle your fitness fancy.

1. Swimming

Swimming is an excellent whole-body workout that is easy on the joints, Vigeant says, and it’s great for those who have injuries, arthritis or other body ailments.

“[It] keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body that other exercise has,” she says. “It builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.”
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According to Harvard Medical School, general swimming can burn between 180 and 266 calories in a half hour, and doing the backstroke can burn between 240 and 355 calories per half hour.

2. Pole fitness

If you’re a little adventurous, pole fitness can be a fun workout. It boosts body confidence and focuses on positive body image, Vigeant says.

It’s a whole-body workout that includes strengthening, toning, stretching and cardio. This type of exercise is a great option for women looking to become more confident as well as fit and who need that group motivation.

3. Dance classes

“If you have never danced before, it’s going to be a challenge,” Vigeant explains. “So before you know it, this challenge is getting you fitter.”

Dancing of any kind is fun, challenging and energizing, Vigeant says. The activity teaches you body awareness and co-ordination and is great for cardiovascular fitness and overall heart health.

READ MORE: Take it slow and stead to achieve your New Year’s resolutions, experts advise

It’s also a great option for couples looking to get fit together, she adds, as it comes with plenty of group motivation for those who need it.

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Slow dancing, doing the waltz or foxtrot can rid you of between 90 and 133 calories every half hour, Harvard Medical School reports. If you disco, dance ballroom or do square dancing, those can burn between 165 and 244 calories in a half hour. And if fast dancing, ballet or doing the twist is more your thing, expect to burn between 180 to 266 calories in a 30-minute session.

4. Self-defense/martial arts classes

Taking a class like this is a great chance to learn a specific discipline that you can progress with, Vigeant points out.

It can be done as a family, or by yourself, but it usually has a strong community feel, making it another great activity if you need that group motivation, Vigeant says.

Judo and karate, in particular, can burn anywhere between 300 and 444 calories in a 30-minute period, Harvard Medical School says.

5. Circus school

Think aerial arts, ropes, trapeze and hoops.

“[It’s] very challenging,” Vigeant says. “It teaches body awareness and co-ordination. It has a huge fun factor, but can also conquer some fears [like] heights.”
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Vigeant says she would call it an “unassuming workout” because instead of feeling like you’re working out, you’re more likely to feel like a kid, but it’s still very challenging.

6. Yoga

Yoga is the most accessible to everyone, Vigeant says. It is so popular that yoga studios can be found almost on every corner in major cities so you’re bound to find one that works for you.

“Yoga isn’t just about flexibility – it’s about the whole body strength and breath,” she says. “The breath work alone is fantastic for the more stressed out person who needs to slow down in life, rather than amp up.”

Vigeant says there are many different class types so you can find a style that you like.

According to Harvard Medical School, Hatha yoga can burn between 120 and 178 calories in a half hour.

7. Recreational/social sports teams

Find a league or recreation team and you will be able to play multiple sports of your liking, Vigeant says.

Doing these types of activities are good for those who like to compete and socialize while having fun.

Just so you don’t get bored too easily, Vigeant says to try playing different types of sports throughout the week.

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8. Spin

“There are many spin studios with different vibes and styles, so that means plenty of class options for the busy person,” Vigeant explains.

Spin is great for cardiovascular fitness as it strengthens your heart. It is also high intensity and can burn a lot of calories.

However, you can set your own pace, she says, and it is considered low impact compared to running or other high-intensity exercise.

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