6 gym-free fitness ideas

Visiting a gym to lift weights or take a class is great for your health. However, busy schedules, tight budgets and simply not feeling like the gym environment is for you are reasons that frequently cause people to stop going. Fortunately, being fit doesn't require the gym.

Tavis Piattoly, a sports dietitian, expert nutritionist and co-founder of My Sports Dietitian, offers some no-fuss ideas for staying healthy without the gym.

Inside the home

Stuck inside? No problem. Try some squats or, if mobility is an issue, squat to a chair. Push-ups are another classic, highly effective option. If regular push-ups aren't an option, do them from your knees or against the wall. Other exercises: lunges around the house, shoulder presses with dumbbells, jumping rope, jumping jacks, running in place, planks and sit-ups.

Outside in nature

Being out in the fresh air is a great escape that offers loads of fitness possibilities. Try hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, skiing, fishing, mountain biking or whatever else piques your curiosity. Simply taking a walk around the yard or the neighborhood is beneficial, too.

At the office

Overcome the sedentary office lifestyle by making time for fitness. Try taking the stairs every day and park far away so you have to walk to the door. Then, use a five-minute break every hour to do something active such as chair squats or seated leg raises. Set an automated alert so you don't forget.

Group fitness

Fitness can be more fun when you do it with friends or family. Play tag, organize relay races or create an obstacle course outside. Other enjoyable group fitness activities include hiking, swimming, basketball, soccer, Frisbee and bike rides.

When out and about

A busy schedule packed with errands still presents the opportunity for fitness. For example, walk or run around the parking lot while kids are taking dance or music classes rather than passing the time on your smartphone.

Balanced meals

To support fitness efforts, it's important to eat well and regularly. The best foods for sustained energy are balanced meals of complex fiber carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean protein. Piattoly suggests eating every three to four hours. Some food to include in balanced meals: whole grain breads and crackers, chicken breast, legumes and fresh fruit and vegetables.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016