There are many issues around the way that society views exercise. For one, we’re encouraged to engage in exercise whether we want to or not. It’s seen as acceptable for fitness companies to focus on the ‘no pain, no gain’ side of movement, which ultimately, even if we separate it from diet culture, sucks most (if not all) of the fun out of being active. Of course, there are people out there who enjoy the gym environment and may find that the treadmill is a perfect companion for their exercise time, but many people complain of feeling unmotivated by it and its similar counterparts. Here at The Unedit, we believe in people exercising because that’s what they choose to do, rather than because it’s what they feel that they have to. And what’s so wrong with enjoying movement and having fun whilst working up a sweat. So if you find that you’re feeling a bit uninspired by the whole gym thing, why not give one of these a whirl?
It seems so simple, right? A perfect alternative to running on incline for absolutely anyone, especially those who are known to be the first ones on the dance floor and the last ones off of it. Zumba is the most popular class and can be found pretty much in any location, but due to its general over saturation of diet culture (as a result of it’s growing popularity, go figure), some people can be put off by taking part in a class. Other dance classes can be found relatively easily too — think about the kind of dance you enjoy, or the kind of dance that you’d like to try, and just go for it. Even if you’re convinced you’ve got no rhythm, find a beginner class and take it a step at a time (literally). If you’d rather not attend a class, put together the perfect playlist and shake it off in the comfort of your own home!
2. Bike rides
Remember being a kid and going absolutely bloody everywhere on your bike? And not feeling pain, not feeling resentment, but actually enjoying being free and in nature and getting yourself from A to B? Getting out into the fresh air with a bike is a great relaxer (not if you’re attempting to cycle in rush hour in Central London, don’t do that), and it gives you the chance to see some beautiful scenes and even discover places you’ve never seen before. Dig deep and bring your inner child back out to play. I guarantee it’ll beat any stationary bike in the gym.
Whilst it seems an obvious one, so many people overlook swimming. I’m not saying you have to go to the pool and nail the 500m butterfly, but just being in the water and taking it at your own pace in a stroke that you enjoy is more than good enough. Who cares if you’re in the slow lane or being lapped by the ‘professionals’, make your exercise time revolve around your enjoyment, not other people’s convenience. If you’re a bit conscious about hitting the pool and donning a swimming costume, look at your local swimming pool’s timetable — the majority offer women’s only swims if that makes you feel more comfortable. You could even give them a ring and ask them when their least busy times are.
4. Rock wall climbing
Okay this is something I would absolutely not do, due to being shit scared of heights, but it’s a real winner for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies… basically anyone who can handle being up any higher than on a chair changing a lightbulb. Mia Thermopolis is a perfect pop culture example who climbed to let off some steam and, more importantly, just because she loved it. (Side note: why was there no rock wall for her enjoyment in her Genovian palace?) I digress, but if this sounds like a bit of you, there are both indoor and outdoor options available across the country.
5. Martial arts
Whilst we’re not advising you go round attempting to kick through planks of wood, if you want to find an activity outside of the gym that requires discipline and guarantees a full body workout every time, then consider stepping inside the dojo. It’s not an easy sport, but with several years experience under my belt (no pun intended), I can safely say it’s one of the most rewarding. If you’re going to do it properly it requires commitment, but not only do you learn skill, you learn about your inner strength — it’s amazing to realise what you’re truly capable of.
I don’t know what it is about miniature things that excite me. Miniature ponies. Miniature hamburgers. Cadbury Miniatures. So how could I not be just a little bit psyched by the thought of miniature trampolines? Yep, if you haven’t heard of it already, rebounding is basically a workout involving a small trampoline. It’s hard work, but with the music and atmosphere it can be so much fun. If you’re not convinced by the idea yet, take a trip to Google. A word of advice: if this is something you might be interested in doing, invest in a good sports bra first.
This one I know many people have mixed feelings about. I always thought that hiking was far from the kind of exercise that I’d be interested in, and then I visited a place worth hiking. The place for hiking. You got it, I went to Los Angeles. For the first time in my life I genuinely wanted to get on a comfy pair of trainers/boots/whatever the hell hikers wear and get stuck into it on one of the zillion gorgeous trails that I saw. So basically, if you like the idea of being around nature, and you happen to live somewhere that offers some stunning scenery, get to it.
The thought of adding wheels to the bottom of your feet can put the fear of God into many people, but rollerskating is genuinely a fun activity and gets the blood pumping (not to mention sends the core and leg muscles into overtime). We’re not expecting you to look like Beyoncé in the Blow video, or Jessica Simpson in the A Public Affair video, but if it’s the lights, sounds and vibe of the roller disco that’s got you invested, then that’s awesome. Whether it’s a regular thing or a one-off, it certainly offers a great opportunity to get out of the house and get moving.
When you think netball, you might be forced into a flashback from PE lessons as a kid, learning about contact and footwork, and being put on the team just because you were taller than your peers. But following on from the England Vitality Roses’ roaring success at the Commonwealth Games, plus England Netball’s Back To Netball initiative growing in popularity, netball’s once again become one of the most common recreational sports amongst women in the UK. With no-commitment groups dotted around the country, if there’s ever been a part of you that misses or is wanting to get back into the sport, now’s your chance. Not only is it a different way to keep your fitness up, but it’s a great opportunity to make new friends, too. Netball not your thing? There are plenty of other recreational sports teams that can offer you the same fun and social aspects.
We see it absolutely everywhere, but yoga is one of the most common go-to exercises outside of a gym atmosphere. Although for the most part marketed towards smaller bodies, there are plenty of bigger ones who are absolutely killing yoga, and inspiring all types of bodies to get involved. Yoga is wonderful in the way that you can go at your own speed, and you can look back and see how far you’ve come over time. For absolute beginners or those who find certain positions more challenging, there are always modifications that means you can participate regardless of your ability. Of course, yoga also offers a mind-body connection that many other types of exercise don’t, so if you’re wanting an extra chance to work on mindfulness and breathing, yoga might just be for you.
There are hundreds of different sports and activities that you can get involved with that don’t involve any gym equipment or cause the level of anxiety that such spaces can cause for so many — we’re merely just listing a few. Movement is such a lovely way to show your body care and attention, so why not have some fun with it?