The gym can be a daunting place sometimes. That's why I've come up with a list of workout alternatives and activities to keep you feeling healthy and strong without interrupting your schedule with gym-induced stress.


This may seem too simple or not strenuous enough, but walking can actually be a fantastic way to keep your muscles toned without putting too much stress on your body.

Walking is great for people new to exercise routines because you can go at your own pace, however long you want to, wherever you want to go. And the best part is, no special equipment is needed - just throw on your sneakers and go. 


Like walking, hiking is an easy way to exercise without being surrounded by other people. This activity also allows you to explore nature and new scenery, providing you with an opportunity to appreciate nature while bettering yourself. No matter what your skill level is, there's a trail out there suited for your needs, and that makes hiking an incredibly versatile and fun workout for anyone.

Kayleigh Bounds

Yoga and Meditation

If you're someone who likes to slow things down and really work to enhance both your mental and physical fitness, give yoga a try. There are plenty of videos and online instructions available for those who are intimidated by public classes - myself included - and practicing yoga solo can actually really aid with both stress and tense muscles.

For those who want to learn in a group setting, yoga classes are becoming more and more popular today, and there are dozens of kinds to choose from. This means that no matter what your skill level - and your comfort level - there's a class out there for you.


While this one may require a bit more equipment, it too is an activity suited for nearly all terrains and locations. Biking is a great way to get your heart pumping and your legs moving, and it also is a fantastic mode of transportation.

Whether you're trying to exercise or attempting to cut down on your carbon footprint, biking is the perfect choice for someone who wants to get outside and is serious about their exercise goals.

lobster, beer, water
Kayleigh Bounds


Fitness-centered dance classes, like yoga, are also quickly becoming a very popular form of exercise. I know that for many the gym is intimidating because of the presence of other people, but I've found that dance classes provide an incredibly relaxed and non-judgmental environment for those who want to try this fun method of exercise.

In many classes all skill-levels are welcome, making them inviting and providing you with a chance to meet other people who just want to stay healthy and have a good time - and maybe a few good laughs - while doing it. 


Perhaps there are fewer places to swim than there are to bike where you live, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy this workout every now and then. Swimming is an excellent way to achieve a full-body workout, and it is great for people who can't put too much stress on their joints due to pre-existing medical conditions.

If you live near a lake, pond, or the ocean, this activity is perfect for you; and even if you don't, college and public pools are an excellent substitute for hot and sweaty gyms any day.

Kayleigh Bounds

Skiing and Snowboarding

I attend college in Maine, and while I am not a huge fan of the snow, nearly everyone else around me is. Winter weekends here are spent by many on top of snowy mountains, and this is a great way to take advantage of the weather when it comes to your workouts.

Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, even sledding: All of these activities are both exciting and healthy. What better way to enjoy a snow day than by getting outside and checking off some of those fitness goals?

The Takeaway

There are tons of other ways to work on your fitness, and certainly the gym will always be a great option. But for those of you who are nervous to work out around others or who want to try something new, I hope this list provides you with some inspiration.

These workout alternatives - and many others - are great ways to get moving and to feel better, and at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how you do that. It just matters that you do it.

Special thanks to Abby Cooke and Casey Davies for their photographing/ modeling/ friendship-ing skills.