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Real talk: Sometimes, you’re just not in the mood to put on your athleisure and work up a sweat. Wanting to break up with the gym is not out of the norm. So much so, in fact, that according to a OnePoll survey involving 2,000 individuals, 54% of participants stop paying attention while they’re exercising because they’re literally that bored. Thirty-three percent of individuals would go as far as to spend an entire long weekend with their in-laws, and 25% would cancel their Netflix subscription for a year to avoid working out forever. But exercise isn’t the only answer to staying in great shape. We spoke with Carissa Fernandez, health and wellness coach, and master Pilates instructor for Club Pilates, who shares seven easy ways to stay fit without exercising.
Fernandez shares seven of the many ways you can keep both your body and mind in good health and fit without going the standard “exercise” route. Keep reading to learn more, and next, don’t miss 6 Alternative Workouts To Try if You Hate the Gym.
Giving yourself enough time to rest and repair after a busy day is the name of the game. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), getting enough quality sleep is just as crucial to stay in good health as your workout routine and diet.
“The body needs downtime to repair itself,” Fernandez explains. “Getting into a good habit of a routine bedtime and giving yourself at least seven, but ideally eight, full hours of sleep is an important factor to maintaining good health.”
Stress isn’t doing your body any favors. At first, you may not have much of an appetite when you’re feeling stressed out, WebMD explains. But chronic stress increases how hungry you are, which could result in weight gain.
“Too much stress can negatively impact your health. Practicing stress-relieving activities such as meditation, yoga, and the mind-body practice of Pilates can help to reduce stress levels in your body by increasing the levels of dopamine and serotonin in your brain,” Fernandez says.
Another way to stay fit without exercising? Practice proper breathing techniques. Deep abdominal breathing, for instance, can aid in calming down your mind and body as a form of stress relief.
“Oftentimes, it is found that we are unintentionally holding our breath, or breathing shallow breaths throughout the day,” Fernandez tells us. “This is not optimal for our health! Pilates is a great tool to learn how to breathe properly, and breathwork is one of the first elements of the repertoire that is introduced in a Club Pilates reformer class setting.”
Nourishing your body through the foods you eat is key if you want to stay in great shape—period. Fernandez suggests consuming a well-balanced diet that’s chock-full of whole plant-based foods. This eating plan will aid in digestion and help you preserve lower body fat and a healthy weight.
“A diet high in protein will keep energy levels high and keep the body burning calories throughout the day,” Fernandez adds.
Even though you’re not hitting up the gym on the regular, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stretch. Establish a simple stretch routine you can easily weave into your day. Plus, the benefits are endless!
Fernandez explains stretching can increase blood flow to your muscles, resulting in more efficient movement. “Stretching regularly also decreases your risk of injury because of increased flexibility,” she adds.
You can’t deny the wonderful feeling you get when stepping out into nature. There’s something to be said about a healthy dose of fresh air and sunshine—especially after being cooped up all winter long.
“Getting outside in nature is a great way to increase the absorption of vitamin D in the body, which in turn, is known to increase calcium absorption in the bones,” Fernandez says.
So head outdoors for an old-fashioned walk, hike, or leisurely bike ride with a pal. Or, stretch it out with a relaxing yoga session in the park. These activities certainly won’t feel like your traditional gym workout, and we’re willing to bet you’ll feel refreshed trying something new.
Last but not least, it’s always solid motivation when you’re surrounded by people who share a common goal, cheer you on along the way, and hold you accountable. Fernandez suggests forming a group of inspiring individuals who will be your support system as you work toward your fitness goals.
“Community is one of the biggest reasons my Pilates students tell me they keep coming back to their Club Pilates studio time and time again,” Fernandez says. “Fitness is more fun with a buddy! Find a common fitness interest with someone, and start making plans to do activities together.”