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October 2, 2023

Dislike the Gym? Ditch It!

by Dominique Stamps, MS, RDN, LDN

Tired of talking about exercise? It could be ignored if it was not so important.

You will continue to hear encouragement, you may call it nagging, to include more physical activity in your weekly routine. The repetitive encouragement, from your primary care provider, dietitian, family, or friends is not intended to irritate you but remind and impress upon you how essential adding more physical activity on a regular basis could help prevent, manage, or improve nutrition related conditions.

People of all ages, gender, and any level of mobility can reap the benefits of exercise. Exercising promotes weight loss or can help you maintain your current weight. ‘Regular exercise helps prevent or manage conditions including arthritis, types of cancer, depression, Type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, stroke, and cholesterol. Exercising regularly also promotes better sleep quality, feeling more relaxed, and feeling less anxious’ (Mayo Clinic, 2021).

Physical activity is defined as “energy expenditure from muscle movement by any part of the body” (World Health Organization, 2022, para. 1). The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association provide recommendations for physical activity. Discuss with your primary care provider the weekly exercise regimen appropriate for you. Our individual needs for incorporating physical activity will vary but becoming more physically active is beneficial for most people.

Do you dislike the environment or the thought of going to the gym?

At the gym you must consider the membership fees, you must drive, ride, or walk to get there, or you must adjust your schedule around the gym’s hours. You may prefer not to pay the fees, maybe you are not motivated to go, or maybe you just do not like the environment. And that is ok! So, what other ways could you add more movement? If you are out of ideas or need some variety, here are seventeen ways you could add more movement and physical activity to your daily or weekly routine inside and outside.

  1. Hiking, walking, or jogging
  2. Bike riding
  3. Yoga inside or in the park
  4. Golfing
  5. Swimming
  6. Kayak or canoe
  7. Line dancing classes or videos
  8. Virtual reality headset games or Wii games
  9. Obstacle or ropes course
  10. Exercise videos
  11. Social media dance challenges
  12. No equipment exercises
  13. Exercising while the kids are at practice
  14. Parking further away from the entrance
  15. Use the stairs more
  16. Bowling
  17. Roller skating or ice skating

If the gym keeps you involved weekly and adds consistency, then keep going strong.

To be clear, physical activity does not have to be in a gym setting to take advantage of its benefits. Your physical activity does not have to be for the same number of minutes each time. Be flexible in identifying your exercise durations, maybe your schedule allows fifteen minutes one day or thirty-five minutes another day. Physical activity, in its various forms, is intended to increase movement, build muscle, and increase your heart rate, in environments that are available to you, that stimulate you, and motivate you to become more consistent. Be open-minded to trying new activities that you have heard about or are interested in trying.  Identify your exercise motivations, whether by yourself, with an accountability partner, or maybe purely for social interaction, such as group classes, that encourage consistency in your weekly routine. Picking activities, you look forward to, or enjoy, are also beneficial strategies to help you include physical activity more regularly.

Physical activity should be accompanied by healthy modifications to your eating habits. It is essential, when possible, to gravitate to foods that are less processed, reading and understanding nutritional labels, monitoring your food portions, and reducing your frequency of eating out. A helpful resource, provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, MyPlate , provides healthy eating tips at any age. Talk to your Avance Nutrition Services dietitians, about ways to eat healthier, help developing personal strategies that compliment your nutrition goals, and receive support, as encouragement or accountability along your journey.


  • American Diabetes Association. (n.d.). Regular exercise can help put you back in control of your life.
  • American Heart Association. (2021, March 16). How much physical activity do you needs?
  • Mayo Clinic. (2021, October 8). Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Learn how to eat healthy with MyPlate.
  • World Health Organization. (2022, October 5). Physical activity.


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