Skip Nav
Strong Abs Start With This 7-Minute Workout
Shopping Guide
Running and Lifting in the Same Workout? Here Are the Shoes You Need
These Wheat-Free Pancakes Are Perfect For a Low-Carb Brunch

Work in Working Out Without the Gym

For so many of us, the idea of working out corresponds with going to the gym. The Harvard Health Letter wants us to put an end to that way of thinking and try adding a few simple ways get your heart pumping without stepping foot on a treadmill. Some of the suggestions are things that a lot of us already do — hopefully — but there are also a few new ideas I'd love to add to my day. They are:

  1. Take the faraway spot. Walking from the farthest corner of the parking lot will burn a few calories. If it's a parking garage, head for the roof and use the stairs.
  2. Get into the swing of it. Swinging your arms when you walk will help you reach the brisk pace of 3 to 4 miles per hour that is the most healthful.
  3. Be part of the fun. Adults shouldn't miss a chance to jump into the fray if kids are playing on a playground or splashing around in the water. Playing along will strengthen muscles and bones and set a good example.

There are many more great, easy ideas so


  1. Clean house. Even if you have a cleaning service, you can take responsibility for vacuuming a couple of rooms yourself. Fifteen minutes burns around 80 calories.
  2. Adopt someone as your walking, jogging, or biking buddy . . . Adding a social element to exercise helps many people stick with it.
  3. . . . even a buddy with four legs. Several studies have shown that dog owners get more exercise than the canineless.
  4. Be a stair master. Taking the stairs is good for your legs, knees, and cardiovascular system. Don't overdo; take one flight at a time.

If you're already using these tricks then bravo! Let this serve as a friendly reminder to keep up the good work. Which tips do you already do and are they working for you? Share with us below.


Join The Conversation
g1amourpuss g1amourpuss 8 years
"Playing along will strengthen muscles and bones and set a good example." This is what I'm working on this fall. It is so hot/humid where I live, but the fall is the most wonderful time of year. I'm totally going to get outside more often with my daughter now that there is a breeze in the air. (My daughter's at my mom's tonight.. but -) I did this yesterday! :) Since my backyard is huuuuge we ran to the fence line back and forth a few times. It was great connecting with her also.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
it's funny - every time my mom and i or my fiance and i go somewhere - we always choose the far spots unless it's raing since we figure that any extra exercise is good. so many people go for the convenience of the close spot - but what's a few extra steps in the grand scheme of things - unless you're carrying HUGE/HEAVY packages from shopping - which is never the case for me.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
I always park at the far end of the mall from the store I need to visit. Walking from Dillard's to Sears and back is about a mile, and it's pleasantly air conditioned.
Deadly-Lemur Deadly-Lemur 8 years
I actually quit the gym back in January because I had seriously gotten into a mindset of "exercise = gym". I try to do most of the things listed, and even find myself taking the long way around Walmart just to get in a little more walking.
tatsauce tatsauce 8 years
I haven't been able to go to the gym as much because I've been busy with other stuff so I've been taking advantage of lunch time walks. I'm lucky, I work in SF, Embarcadero area, right next to the Ferry Building so I benefit from scenic walks (Bay Bridge, sailboats) which makes it more motivating and enjoyable. I'm starting to realize that every little bit counts. So even if you don't really work up too much of a sweat, a 20 minute walk is better than nothing at all! If I can't take a walk outside, I'll go up and down the stairway for 15 minutes. The very first time I did this, the day after I was soooo sore!
danzerdrea7 danzerdrea7 8 years
I would love to take the stairs, since I live on the 4th floor, but our security system locks all stairwell doors from the stairwell side. You can go down the steps, but not up:(
superfoxml superfoxml 8 years
This is something I've really been focused on recently. I have my own treadmill and my apartment complex has a gym, plus I have countless workout dvds..but that all gets old. I've really enjoyed running the stairs in my apartment building, going to a really gorgeous park/beach down the road, walking around the city (I live in an urban area with a mall and Target and tons of shops in walking distance), plus I try to park far away and walk farther, and always skip the elevator unless I'm toting bags of groceries. The extra bursts of exercise have really helped me drop some pounds, and it's really easy to just incorporate more out-of-gym physical movement.
Jennifer Lopez Working Out With David Kirsch Video
Bungee Workouts
Things to Do Before Exercising Postbaby
Mom Breastfeeding During Ironman Competition
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds