3 Places to Improve Your Health Outside the Gym:

 

Gyms and fitness centers are fantastic places to work on your physical health. With top-tier equipment, personal trainers to guide you, and the camaraderie of other members, a great gym makes it easy to stay motivated and meet your fitness goals. However, the gym isn’t the only place you can improve your health.

If you’re serious about living a healthy lifestyle, these are three other places you should be focusing on your health.

The Kitchen

“You can’t outrun a bad diet.” It’s a catchy phrase, but what does it really mean?

Weight gain or loss is determined by the calories you consume versus the calories you burn. If you eat more calories than you burn through exercise and daily activity, you’ll gain weight, but if you operate in a calorie deficit, you’ll lose weight. So if you’re consistently eating more food than your body needs, you’ll see the numbers on the scale rise even if you’re a dedicated gym-goer.

When it comes to cutting calories, there’s a right way and a wrong way. People who turn to fad diets to lose weight quickly tend to gain it back once they stop the diet. That’s because fad diets don’t address the eating habits that lead to weight gain. If you want your weight to go down and stay down, you need a diet plan that’s sustainable for your lifestyle. Rather than experimenting with diet trends, research which diets are proven to work, and talk to your doctor to determine the diet plan that matches your nutritional needs.

The Outdoors

When you want to mix up your workouts, skip the gym and head outside instead. There are countless ways to get active outdoors, from swimming to mountaineering to playing a sport. The best part? Most of them are tons of fun, so you’ll hardly notice you’re working out.

Outdoor exercise is also great for your mental health. Exercising outdoors has been shown to improve self-esteem, moods, and sense of purpose while reducing stress and anxiety. That’s because when you exercise outside, you combine the mental health-boosting powers of exercise with the mood-lifting effects of nature.

Getting active outdoors does have more risks than working out in a gym, so make sure you have the right equipment before heading out, and respect your limitations when venturing into wilderness areas. That’s especially true if you’re heading outdoors in the winter, when a slip on ice or snow could leave you injured in dangerous weather conditions. Crampons are a must in icy weather (you can learn more about crampons and find quality ones here). The Appalachian Mountain Club lists more essential gear you need before heading into the great outdoors.

The Office

Odds are that you don’t think of your cubicle as a fitness-focused environment. However, you can do a lot of harm to your body sitting behind a desk if you’re not mindful.

New research is emerging all the time that shows just how terrible sitting behind a desk all day is for your health, and it’s bad news for the gym buffs: Even if you sweat it out at the gym every day, you can’t undo the harmful effects of too much sitting. If you work a desk job, set a timer that reminds you to get up and move for at least 5 minutes every half hour. Better yet, swap your standard desk for a sit-stand desk so you spend part of the workday on your feet.

Muscles are made in the gym, but head-to-toe health happens everywhere you live, work, and play. From your office to your kitchen, a fitness class to a mountain ridge, every place you spend time is an opportunity to improve your health. Pay attention to how your everyday habits influence your health, and you’ll see gains in strength and endurance beyond what you thought was possible.

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Published in Fitness