Do you recognise yourself saying/thinking any of the following statemens:
- It’s too warm/cold to train outside
- I don’t have space at home to exercise
- It’s raining
- I don’t have money to pay the gym
- My schedule is so packed, there is no time for exercise
- Oh look, Ana has just called me for movies night, I’ll exercise tomorrow
After the festive hedonism season, the time has come to get your ass up and burn the cake, turkey, odojak & janjetina calories and get back to the routine (as you can see, this post was in the making for quite some time xD). Apart from making space in your tummy for more tasty food and getting the life balance back by working out, you are also creating extra shots of serotonin and dopamine in your brain. Happy molecules! That’s all you need to know.
So let’s take a step back and re-take the physical activity doubts.
As you all are probably aware of benefits of working out and physical exercise I’ll jump to the ‘not so obvious’ part of the story.
I have been travelling quite a lot in the last five years and my training routine has been my loyal companion. I adapt it to where I am, how I feel & general convenience. But, I also incorporate the ‘not so obvious physical activity’, or how I like to call it – exercise on the go. Reading about motivating people to do physical exercise (refer to the book) I have come across valuable advice and a change of perspective on physical activity. Namely, they differentiate three concepts: physical activity, exercise and physical fitness. Physical activity in daily life can be categorized into occupational, sports, conditioning, household, or other activities. Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive and has as a final or an intermediate objective the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness. Physical fitness is a set of attributes that are either health- or skill-related.
What we come to understand as working out usually refers to a classical exercise. However, in old times, gyms didn’t exist and people kept fit by doing regular daily chores which were quite physical. Today, we won’t exactly go and run after goats that have escaped on pasture, like my mother did. xD
But we can try to introduce alternative ways of physical activity adapting our daily activities to include more movement. In this post I want to share some options to add to your regular gym workout or replace it whatsoever. I’d love to hear your feedback hoping to hear more examples from your experience.
So, let’s start with:
- You need: – Your body
I have been following lots of fitness people and some years ago, Karina Elle, has posted something about ‘invisible work for abs’. She spoke about a simple trick that engages your core at all times, and that is keeping upright posture. Keeping your back straight in seated or walking position is activating your abdominal wall, and although you might not be conscious of it, you are strengthening your core, apart from taking care of your spinal column.
Workout in the open
- You need: – Appropriate weather conditions, outside workout area
In Spain we’re lucky to have a variety of training parks in our neighbourhoods. They consist of all kinds of workout installations that are more than enough for your regular dosis of daily/weekly workout. You can do a ‘freestyle-workout’ and copy what you see others doing. Meeting new friends usually comes along 🙂
Or, if you are just a wildling (get it? hehe) like me, any hill or nature paths will serve as a place for a workout. This video is made somewhere in the mountains of Dalmatinska Zagora when I was visiting my grandparents in a small village in Dalmatia (Croatia). With a bit of creativity, you can make use of any objects you find: rocks, trees, ascents, descents, …
- You need: – peeps &/or courts
This photo was taken in Berlin. It is one of many improvised streetball actions I had finding a full basket court in random places. Always using the opportunities to move and have fun. 🙂
- You need: appropriate weather conditions (or nerves of steel), bycicle
This one is my favourite, working out even when you’re not doing so. Taking advantage of transit times to do something good for your body & mind. Walking to your workplace if it’s at a realistic distance, or taking a brisk walk back home counts too. WHO (World Health Organisation) suggests doing 10 000 steps per day to reach your daily activity goal.
On the other hand, if your workplace counts some kilometres from your home you might consider getting yourself a bycicle. Yes, you might get sweaty on the way but you can also take clothes to change after. There are solutions if you want to find them…
Plus, if you are (wannabe) hippy like me, opting for these options rather than taking a motorized vehicle is good for the environment so – double benefit. 🙂
- You need: – Appropriate weather conditions (or *very strong* willpower), your body
Anywhere, anytime, there are no limits. Inscribing to a race might be an extra motivating factor for you. The sensation of running with hundreds/thousands people by your side is an unforgettable experience.
- You need: – Time
In order to discover hiking paths, reach the destinations with astonishing views you need to dedicate some time to explore nature and breathe in fresh air. Hikes with my friends were some of the most inspirational escapes from the city noise. Highly recommendable, there is nothing like it…
- You need: – Mat, floor, rooftop, beach, mountain, …
At your home or anywhere outside, a chill alternative to intense workout, don’t be fooled, your muscles will be working! Check out Yoga with Tim on Youtube. This was my first touch with more serious yoga. 🙂
- You need: your body and 2×2 of floor
This one is a subject for itself. I’ll just name some of the resources, and the rest is up to you to ask/discover/search. Programmes such as Insanity (https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/programs/insanity/workouts – dig deeper to find free versions), p90x workout, or simple HIIT Youtube workouts. So many people you can follow on Instagram that have examples of workouts, some are: elisesbodyshop, anacro3, fitgurlmel; just check a list of who I follow on Instagram. 😛
No weights? Use the resources on hand: chairs, boxes, suitcases, or your brother, I don’t care, there is always something to lift!
I wish I took a photo of my improvised weight in a form of a huge vase at the last place that I lived for a month. I stuck my hand into that vase and did arm raises, front, side, back and even sit-ups, squats and alike. So. Many. Things. Just get creative, it will be fun!
- You need: 20-50Eur/month
It’s boring to mention because it is an obvious choice. It might be a smart decision to look for a franschize chain of gyms in case of a tight budget. Those gyms are usually low-cost and high-quality. Don’t stop looking for gyms after going to the first one which charges 50Eur/month. It’s not the only one and they are all not the same.
Improv on the go
A novel resource I discovered at an airport in Amsterdam offers a stationary bycicle where you can pedal to charge your device and move a bit at the same time. You can imagine my happiness when I found an alternative to eating and drinking/shopping at the airport xD
A rare find, but a must one to try and take advantage out of. Hopefully this initiative will be replicated by more airports cause the only thing that is missing in the airports at this moment is a gym or a place to get active.
The only way is up! 😀
Caspersen, C.J., Powell, K.E. & Christenson, G.M. (1985) Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness: definitions and distinctions for health-related research. Public Health Rep. 100(2): 126–131.