Sweat Often, Workout Tips

How to Stay Active Outside of the Gym, According to Experts

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By Sarah Sarway

Hitting the gym for treadmill sprints, heavy squats, and deadlifts is a good idea for so many reasons, like maintaining weight and looking (and feeling) strong and svelte.

But you don’t have to reach a new burpee goal daily to reap the longer-life benefits of exercise. In fact, studies show engaging in “moderate exercise” (a brisk walk qualifies!) is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of premature death. If you do it at all, you benefit. If you meet daily minimum requirements, you benefit more. If you exceed those requirements and add vigorous exercise on top, you benefit even more.

In other words, you should try to move around as much as possible in your daily life, whether you’re able to make time for yoga or not. Plus, for some people, running for miles without actually getting anywhere can seem kind of, well, boring. Or maybe you’re usually devoted to the gym but want a way to mix it up and get outdoors.

RELATED: Should You Work Out in the Morning or at Night?

Wellness experts understand all of this, which is why we ask them to share how they stay active outside of the gym during interviews. Unsurprisingly, they’ve figured out some of the coolest ways to do it. (We’re talking seriously gravity-defying ideas.) Some are more intense heart rate-boosting activities; others are just simple ways to make your normal routine a little less sedentary.

Keep reading to see some of our favorite out-of-the-box ways to keep those endorphins flowing 24-7.

(Photos: Shutterstock)

7 Creative Ways to Stay Active Outside of the Gym

  • 1. Build cardio into your commute and daily errands

    Okay, where you live will totally impact your ability to act on this one, but if your situation does allow for it, we’re totally on board with Dan Churchill’s tactic. Instead of taking the subway or taxis around town, the Australian chef (now based in New York City) opts for two wheels (or two feet). “In my everyday life as a chef I’m constantly on my feet, walking around the city, biking on CitiBike,” he says. Health coach Robyn Youkilis does the same. “I ride my bike everywhere,” she says. Churchill also generally skips the elevator. “I always take the stairs even when there are other options or I’m carrying heavy bags.”

  • 2. Get a Dog

    Bethany Lyons might have him beat—she takes two stairs at a time. But the popular yoga teacher gets even more exercise “walking my dogs all over New York City.” FYI, according to research, pet owners are generally healthier and happier than non-pet owners. Just sayin’. We also love Lyons’ hilarious approach of just “generally not choosing to be a couch potato.”

    RELATED: 6 Unexpected Tips From a Doctor’s Guide to Living Well

  • 3. Jump around

    Sometimes doing something groundbreaking involves actually leaving the ground. Foam rolling guru Lauren Roxburgh swears by the trampoline as a tool with some really awesome stress-relieving and beauty-related benefits. If you’ve got a little rebounder that’s been gathering dust in a closet somewhere since the 90s, break it out and jump around a little while you watch the morning news. Better yet, next time your kids are jumping in the backyard, get out there with them.

  • 4. Spend time with the kids

    Speaking of kids, you may not have a choice but to be uber active if you’ve got a toddler. Celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser says she spends lots of her free time running after her one-year-old. And top dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe says being a mom forces her to stay active even when she’s not at work. “I’m always on my feet running from room to room to see my patients,” she says. “As the mom of a six year old, I spend my weekends running around parks and walking through zoos and museum exhibits.”

  • 5. Take a hike

    Holly Perkins trades the gym for the trails as a way to feel good inside and out. “I LOVE to hike the mountains in the Los Angeles area and go for walks almost every day,” says the top trainer. “I have to spend time outside every day for mental health and general well being.” Fun fact: More time in nature is associated with happiness and stress-relief.

    RELATED: 3 Healthy Reasons to Fill Your Space With Plants

  • 6. Hit the slopes or the waves

    Winter is often the hardest time to stay active, but when it’s cold outside, consider heading to the nearest ski resort, suggests celebrity nutritionist Kelly LeVeque. “We ski and snowboard a few weeks of the year in Mammoth,” she says. In the summer, she trades the skis for a surfboard. Just remember that in both scenarios, you’ll need plenty of SPF.

  • 7. Turn your vacation into an active adventure

    Many of us use vacations as a time to totally relax, and there’s no shame in that. But you can also take a cue from SoulCycle star Mantas Zvinas and use travel time as an opportunity to do all the fun, active stuff you don’t usually have time for. Zvinas’ fitness retreats “involve beach boot camps, surfing, hiking, and outdoor yoga sessions.” And you can take nap, after!

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