Hate the gym? Here are five alternatives

Friday, 16 March 2018

Working out at the gym can wear thin as you battle your own willpower to keep going past what’s easy – or to get through the door. Having a social aspect or a sense of purpose can keep you motivated to move, and having fun will keep you going back.


Dancing is a fun and easy way to get your heart rate up. There are so many options to get started; you can take classes and learn a new skill, join in at a free-for-all club (such as No Lights No Lycra in Sydney), or pump the music at home and dance your way through the TV ad breaks! Any of these options are fun on your own, but it’s even better if you can find some friends who like to groove.

Dancing is also a great way to moderate the amount of stress you put on your body. Jumping and sudden stops can be modified to suit your needs, just speak to your class instructor or an Exercise Physiologist.

Equipment: Shoes and tunes.

Social sports

Get inspired by the 2018 Commonwealth games and join a team sport. It’s a great way to get exercise into your routine and meet new people. Gather a group of friends, find something you’re all interested in and sign up. It’s social sport, so it’s ok if you’re not at the top of your game! You can also sign up at your local club and get put in a team based on your skill level.

If you’re not feeling confident in your abilities or want to do something completely different, beginner’s lessons are a great way to take the pressure off. Group lessons are a fun environment and exercise feels less like a chore while you’re learning how to play tennis, basketball, netball, volleyball, badmington…the list goes on!

Equipment: It’ll depend on what sport you’re playing, so ask the club or your instructor what you need to bring.  


We live in a country full of interesting trails and you don’t have to go far out of the city to find them. Walking on a treadmill doesn’t have the same interaction with nature, where you can spot native flora and fauna as you trek. Completing a trail gives more purpose to the walk, even more if the end destination is a beautiful lookout or a waterfall.

Hiking can seem intimidating when you think of climbing huge hills or going off-trail, but there are trails for all levels of fitness. When you head out to a national park check out the trail guide and pick a trail suitable for your abilities.

Equipment: A good pair of walking shoes or hiking boots, a big bottle of water and your phone (to capture the moment of triumph at the end).


Walking too slow for you? Get the bike out of the shed, check your tires and you’ve got an environmentally friendly way of getting around! Next time a friend wants to catch up for coffee pick somewhere nearby and cycle over. You can cycle with purpose to work, or take a scenic route on the weekend.

Cycling is also a family-friendly activity. It’s well-documented that children in Australia are spending too much time in front of screens and not enough time exercising. Get the kids on their bikes and out of the house – you’ll be glad when it’s bedtime.

Equipment: A bicycle, helmet and a bike lock for when you’re out and about.

Rock climbing

Rock climbing requires you to use both your upper and lower body to climb up and across man-made walls. You don’t need to be an expert to start. The instructors will take you through how everything works and a safety demonstration before you can get started, and climbs are usually colour-coded by difficulty.

While people don’t often associate rock climbing with a cardio workout, if you start timing your climbs and racing yourself your heart rate will go up! Rock climbing also has the benefit of being a two-person sport so you have a buddy keeping you motivated and accountable.

If you prefer to exercise solo try bouldering. A harness isn’t required as the walls are much lower, so you’re free to clamber around on your own!

Equipment: You can hire shoes, harnesses and chalk from rock climbing centres.

Have mobility issues?

If you have issues with bone strength, joints or other mobility issues it’s important to speak to your Exercise Physiologist about what exercise is right for your body. Walking, yoga, pilates, cycling, swimming and golf are all low-impact exercises. Make sure you get approval from your GP before starting.

You don’t need to be an athlete, you just need to move a little more than you did yesterday.

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