Staying Fit and Active for Those Who Hate the Gym and Exercise!

Alternatives to exercise and the gym

There is a perception that you just need to find some form of exercise or a sport that you love to do, and it will then be easy to stay fit. But for some, that is much easier said than done.

Some people struggle to find something that floats their boat and, if you have to keep forcing yourself to do something for the sake of it, it will be hard to stay motivated. Not everyone loves the gym, to run, cycle or whatever, and that’s fine.

With a number of my clients we don’t worry about formal exercise, gym training plans or taking part in a sport. We just focus on moving more and finding easy ways to stay that bit more active. Your goal doesn’t have to be that you need to become an athlete!

Here are a few ideas:

1. Daily Activities as Exercise

Your everyday routine can be a source of physical activity. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Gardening: Digging, planting, weeding, and other gardening activities are great ways to stay active and enjoy nature.
  • Household Chores: Vacuuming, sweeping, DIY, and even tidying up can burn calories. Make it a goal to keep your living space neat, and you’ll be moving more than you realise.

2. Find “Cheat Steps” by Stealth

Make small changes in your daily routine:

  • Stand More: If you work at a desk, consider a standing desk or take short breaks to stand and walk around.
  • TV Time: Instead of sitting through adverts, stand up, stretch, and move around.
  • Take the Stairs: Instead of using the lift at work or when out and about, take the stairs.
  • Walk. Don’t Drive: If the shops are just a short walk away, then walk, don’t drive. Visiting a friend down the road? You guessed it, walk. You get the idea!
  • Park in the Far Corner: When you drive somewhere like the office or the supermarket, park as far away from the entrance as the car park allows.

3. Get Social

Engaging in social activities often means moving without even noticing, such as:

  • Dance: Join a local dance class or simply dance around the house to your favourite tunes. It’s both therapeutic and a decent workout.
  • Walks (again!): Get out for some fresh air, maybe join a walking group or start one with friends. Exploring new areas becomes more about the experience than the exercise.

4. Functional Fitness (When Doing Something else!)

Focus on activities that you can quickly do while doing something else. Not every exercise session needs to be an hour. For example:

  • Stretching: Stretching to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injuries. Do it in front of the TV (some stretches don’t do unless you are warmed up first though).
  • Balance Activities: Simple exercises like standing on one foot can improve balance and core strength. Do this while brushing your teeth or making when making a brew.
  • Bodyweight Exercises: Do some bodyweight squats while the microwave is going, do some jumping jacks while waiting for the kids to put their shoes on, and so on.

5. Mind-Body Wellness

Activities that combine mental wellness with physical movement maybe an option:

  • Yoga: While it might sound like exercise, many yoga styles focus on relaxation, breathing, and gentle movements.
  • Tai Chi: Often referred to as ‘meditation in motion’, Tai Chi involves slow, flowing movements and deep breathing.


Fitness is a flexible concept. It doesn’t demand punishing gym routines or intense workouts all of the time. By subtly integrating movement into daily life and choosing enjoyable activities, those who dislike “traditional” exercise can still lead a fit and active life. Embrace activities you love, and fitness will naturally follow.

I can help you…

I am a Weight Loss Coach, successfully helping people just like you to lose weight and keep it off:

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