For most people, any mention of exercise conjures mental images of a gym.

While there’s nothing wrong with going to the gym, if you don’t like the idea, there are plenty of ways you can get fit without having to set foot in one.

In fact, far more important than paying for a gym membership is to simply begin.  Just pick an arbitrary day, like right now, immediately after you read this article, and start.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complex, you just have to increase your level of physical activity over and above what it is right now.

If you work in an office, there are literally dozens of exercises you can do without ever even getting up out of your chair.  You can intentionally park farther from the door to your office and do the same thing every time you go to a store, which will force you to walk more. Or take the stairs instead of an elevator.

The best way to get healthy and fit though, is to flip the script.  If you think of it as exercise, then your mind may rebel against it. If you pick some physical activity that you enjoy doing anyway, or that you haven’t tried before but think you might enjoy doing, it will feel like play rather than work. That will make it much more likely that you’ll stick with it for the long term.

If you’re struggling for ideas about what kinds of physical activities to consider, here are a few:

  • Take a fencing class
  • Sign up for martial arts
  • Buy a frisbee, grab a friend and go play in the nearest field
  • If you live near a wild area, go for a hike. If you fancy yourself a photographer, take your smartphone with you and start hunting for hidden vistas to shoot.
  • Take a whitewater rafting trip
  • Buy a bike and start riding
  • Buy some hula hoops and learn how to do it by using YouTube tutorials

All of these are great exercise, but none of them feel like working out. If it feels like fun, you’ll do it often! That’s an important distinction that can make all the difference in the world.