20th November 2023

How To Exercise (without going to a gym!)

Each January, gym memberships skyrocket with people looking to pick themselves up after a post-Christmas slump or to begin a new year’s resolution to get fitter. However, some beginners often report that gyms can feel intimidating or they’re simply unsure where to start. On top of this, they can also be expensive, or you may not live close to one. If any of that sounds like you, then don’t fear: we know a few ways you can still get in exercise, without going to a gym. 

Why is exercise important? 

Exercise is essential for well-being and optimal health, and it can even be enjoyable. It can reduce your risk of major illnesses such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer, and lowers your risk of early death by up to 30%. [1]

Aerobic exercises such as jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, dancing and even gardening have been recognised to help:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Improve cognitive function
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Reduce tiredness
  • Reduce weight
  • Relieve stress
  • Increase sex drive [2]

Reaping all these health benefits from exercising can be done in many different ways, not just through going to a gym. Physical activity should fit around your lifestyle, be incorporated into your every day, or even be sociable, it doesn’t need to be expensive or in a place, you may not feel comfortable.


How to exercise without going to a gym

Go for a daily walk

There are many benefits of walking, including managing blood sugar, improving your mental health, increasing your longevity, and easing joint pain. Walking outside as opposed to on a gym treadmill gives the added benefit of getting fresh air no matter the weather, and of course enjoying the scenery of where the walk can take you. Why not also get in touch with a friend and make it an opportunity to be sociable as well as getting in aerobic exercise?

Increased incidental exercise

‘Incidental’ exercise is activity built up throughout your day, rather than intentional exercise like a workout or going to the gym. It is perfect for people who may not have time to set aside, or those who feel intimidated by a set workout. Incidental exercise can be anything from walking to the local shop rather than driving, taking the stairs rather than a lift, or breaking up your cleaning and gardening jobs to do throughout the week. Soon enough you’ll be feeling the benefits without really noticing the journey!

Bodyweight exercises 

Similarly to incidental exercise, you can use your own body weight to get in physical activity during your day without carving out time to workout. This might look like squatting while brushing your teeth, doing calf raises while cooking dinner, or leg extensions while sitting on the sofa. Additionally, you could try Pilates, which is a low-impact, body weight exercise that can be done at home. There are plenty of guided Pilates classes on our Online Programme you can follow along with, catering to beginner and more advanced abilities.

Use what you have around you

If you want to try weighted exercises but don’t have equipment, like weights, at home, try using what’s around you instead. Use heavy bags of groceries to do shrug exercises, do lying leg curls with weighty cushions on your feet, or walk up and down the stairs several times while carrying a stack of books. Be resourceful with what’s already around you, but do be careful that you’re staying safe. 

The Fast 800 Online Programme workouts

All of the exercises in our Online Programme are guided by our team of qualified fitness trainers with examples of how to do each movement, and all can be done at home with a bit of space. There are four different exercise levels depending on your fitness and ability and are included in part of your weekly plan so you don’t forget to do them. With video guides and modification options for each workout included in our Online Programme, who needs an expensive personal trainer? Plus, the community aspect of our Online Programme also means you can get a sociable element in your fitness journey without going to a gym: it’s a win-win. 

Studies have shown that doing as little as 10 – 30 minutes of exercise a week can dramatically improve your physical and mental health, reduce risks for chronic illnesses, and have a big impact on blood sugars. Soon enough you’ll be feeling and reaping the benefits, and all from exercise without going to a gym.

If you’re new to exercise, try this Low Impact HIIT workout for free and get a taste of what exercise looks like on The Fast 800 Online Programme.

Chair Based Workout, try it for free!


 Information taken from: NHS Website (reviewed 4th August 2021) https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits/ [Accessed: 2nd Dec 2022)

Sharma A, Madaan V, Petty FD. Exercise for mental health. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2006;8(2):106. doi: 10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a. PMID: 16862239; PMCID: PMC1470658.

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