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Everyone wants to be in good health, but sometimes lifestyle choices and work commitments can make this more of a challenge. It can be difficult to stay in shape when you have a busy career or a stressful family life. If joining a gym does not appeal to you because of the cost or time involved, then I have a few ways in which you can still keep fit and potentially also lose weight, if that is your goal.

There are many other daily physical activities besides using a gym which will still burn a lot of calories and help you to stay in shape and to keep feeling fit. Healthy living can be a way of life for you if you can just improve your awareness of how these actions can play a part.

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1. Housework

Doing some housework is my number one way to keep fit besides using a gym. This is because it has a practical purpose as the end goal. You will actually achieve knock-on health results by tidying, vacuuming your home, washing pots or even washing your car, dusting, ironing and even staying on your feet cooking. Gardening should also be included in this list because it can involve a lot of physical lifting and bending when you are outside.

When doing housework one can easily become engrossed in a task. It is therefore very easy to forget that these physical jobs can also have some great health benefits too. Doing regular housework and cleaning will give you a fitness boost and can only do some good towards improving your overall health and energy levels.

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2. Country Or City Walking

If you are stressed, then going for a good walk[1] can really help to clear your head. It can be relaxing to stroll in the countryside, through the town or in your local area. However, by doing this you are of course not only getting fresh air and lowering your blood pressure, you are also helping your body to stay supple and fit. In addition, you will be boosting your vitamin D levels which are increased when you have exposure to the sun. The benefit of this is that it can also act to improve your mood and even helps to promote healthy bones. This is due to the way in which vitamin D aids the regulation of calcium in the body[2].

Whether you decide to walk in your local town or take a trip further afield, you do not have to put much physical effort in to reap these great health benefits from walking. If you are suffering with a low mood or even depression, then walking will be a small step which perhaps you could take to boost your mental outlook and fitness at the same time.

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3. Dancing

Dancing classes can impose exercise through a certain degree of structure and discipline. However, at the same time there is also an element of fun involved. Dancing is arguably therefore a fantastic way to get more exercise into your daily life. The key is in finding free classes which are local to you. Often, dance instructors run free beginner or taster sessions. Going along to one of these could be just the ticket for you to get started with some structured dancing.

However, dancing can be spontaneous as well and there are many free venues and clubs around. Dancing at home will also still yield the same great health benefits. Dancing can strongly take your mind off the fact that you are actually doing physical exercise because it can be fun and engaging in a manner in which a gym workout cannot. When dancing, I know that I am certainly more focused on the rhythm, pulse, melody and story behind the music or songs that I am listening to. This is great because you can relax and enjoy yourself. But one should not forget the great health benefits that dancing can provide too. These health benefits range from increasing your endurance and stamina, to improving your muscle tone and weight management too[3].

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4. Swimming

With the weather getting warmer, the sea is a great place to go for a free swim rather than paying to go at your local baths or swimming pool. If you are a competent swimmer then using the sea could be a great alternative. It is fun to be outdoors instead of being stuck inside a swimming center, and as long as you are careful and feel capable to swim at varying depths, it will be a great way to get fit too. In addition, one could go for a lovely walk along the beach and because you are outdoors and in a relaxing and beautifully scenic environment, you can forget that you are exercising too.

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5. Shopping

Whether you need to buy groceries or clothing, shopping can certainly be a way to clock up the walking miles. From visiting a large shopping center or a busy town center, one can often not realize the sheer distance that can be covered whilst on your feet and looking around. In a similar way to dancing and doing housework, when your activity has a solid purpose to it, you can easily forget that you are exercising as well.

You may have heard or seen the phrase ‘shopping is my cardio’ on t-shirts and tops. This is because for some people, shopping truly is one of the main ways that they get their exercise in! If you are a very busy person with little time to spare for the gym, then shopping serves a dual purpose and will definitely burn some extra calories.

Going shopping in person to purchase your groceries from time to time will be far better for your body physically than simply shopping online for items. Getting out there shopping will help you to reap the health benefits the exercise can offer. In addition, it will improve your health in the long run and increase your vitamin D levels too.

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6. Pets

If you are a pet owner then you are probably already aware of the many great health benefits of owning one. From lowering your blood pressure, to improving your overall level of happiness, pets can work wonders for your health. However, the primary reason for owning a pet should always be because you want to love and care for it and if you can handle the responsibilities and cost involved in taking care of it.

However, it is simply a great side line to mention that especially for dog owners, the frequency of walking means that you are also getting out of the house and keeping fit in the process too. So if you still love animals but do not own any, then volunteering or offering to walk your neighbors or friends dogs will mean you can do a kind act for someone and keep physically healthy yourself at the same time.

I hope that these six simple and free tips can offer some additional ideas on ways for you to get fit without spending a lot of money joining a gym. Remember that eating a healthy and balanced diet including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables will improve your overall health too, both physically and mentally.