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Skip the Gym Membership and Get Outside


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    Not too long ago I was obese and had convinced myself that was my destiny because nothing I did to try to lose weight seemed to work. I'd go to the gym a few times a week, but the weight just wouldn't budge. Then one day I had enough and decided that drastic changes were in order. That's when I vowed to upend my entire routine and embrace a full-blown lifestyle change.

    Instead of going to the gym a few times a week I went outside every day. I started with realistic goals like a four mile brisk walk. Then five. Then six. Before I knew it I was walking 4 miles an hour for two hours. Instead of going to the gym for an hour-long workout - with a 15 minute commute there, two wardrobe changes and a shower in the locker room, and a 15 minute commute back - I was getting two hours of uninterrupted exercise while also enjoying the fresh air. Walking gradually morphed into running and within 10 months of my "wellness day" I ran a marathon. I had also lost over 90 pounds.

    My "wellness day" was nearly two years ago now and I'm happy to report I've kept the weight off by maintaining the same routine of a nutritious diet and exercising outdoors in some way seven days a week.

    I'm not alone in "getting back to the basics" of focusing on a nutritious diet and outdoor exercise as a way to lose weight and keep it off. Numerous scientific studies have concluded that walking is one of the best, if not the best, forms of exercise for all age groups. The studies didn't elaborate if the walking took place indoors or out, but I choose to be outside because there's nothing like fresh air and the smell of nature. Not just that, but walking and running are a heck of a lot cheaper than monthly gym membership dues.

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    That's amazing, congrats!

    I very much agree the best exercise of any is just simply going outside for a few hours for a brisk walk. Its the best because any age group can participate, it's very low impact on the knees and body in general, it elevates your heart rate, gets your blood going, helps you clear your head, and gets you outside in the elements and into the sunlight (vitamin D).

    I recommend trying to walk on the grass and dirt over concrete if you can help it, or at least mix it up. Same thing for running btw. Do you have any issues with your knees and feet from running on the sidewalk/road? I don't like running on concrete so I get heavy cardio elsewhere.

    I wouldn't completely skip the gym for good though. Or at least not what the gym has to offer, mainly weight lifting and resistance training. Beyond losing weight if you feel you aren't healthy, it's also very important to build and maintain muscle, especially as you get older, for both men and women.

    This can be accomplished with a simple kettle bell or pair of free weights/dumb bells in the house, along with doing push-ups, sit-ups, squats and other in home/in garage exercises. So yeah, you don't need a gym membership to be in good shape at all. You are right about that.

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    Thankfully I haven't had any knee or foot problems, but there was a short period of time where I was battling shin and calf issues. What's tough with those, especially the shin, is that there's not a ton of stretches you can do to alleviate the pain outside of the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate) method.

    And while I agree that resistance work is an essential part of a healthy exercise regimen, I don't necessarily believe that any weights need to be involved. Our body is the best "resistance trainer" there is if you think about it. Without buying a single piece of equipment we can do sit-ups, squats, push-ups, planks, and, perhaps most importantly, simply stretching for an extended period of time.

    Stretching works wonders on the body and mind, which is why I spend 60 minutes every night doing it. My wife and I have fun picking an hour long show to binge and we watch one episode of it every night while I stretch.

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    I agree. Getting back to basics is the best thing you can do for your body. It doesn't take fancy gym equipment to get back into shape. Our ancestors were if in decent shape and all they did was some of the most basic of body movements such as walking. Another good "exercise" to do is squatting. Instead of going to one knee to pick something up off the ground, squat instead. It strengthens your legs and increases your center of balance. That too is one of the most primitive movements you can do and benefit from.
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    I've been getting out of the house quite a bit lately specifically with it in mind just to move my body around. The more you sit around the less your body is getting to do the things it needs to do to keep you healthy and in good shape. I recommend to go for a walk outside to get some sunshine atleast once a day.