These days there are bajillion types of gym memberships, from your old-fashioned health clubs to swanky upscale spas, or rugged “box gyms” and barbell clubs. There are flavor-of-the-minute HIIT gyms like OrangeTheory or F45; places that cater only to a specialist crowd, like Pilates, Barre, Kettlebells, or adult Gymnastics; MMA gyms; and 24-hour gyms. There are even places that barely seem like a gym at all, like Planet Fitness, where they feed you donuts and you’re not allowed to expel air forcefully in a grunt, or use barbells. Some of these gyms don’t even want you to show up because their business model depends on recurring revenue from paying members who underutilize their facilities. If you all showed up every day, they wouldn’t have the room for you or the staff to deal with you!
In the meantime, there is an entire beautiful world outside, full of trails to hike, mountains to climb, and tree branches to swing on. So why bother with the gym at all? Your fitness and health is so much more than barbell curls and smoothie bars. There are blue skies and green forests out there, with hot springs to bathe in, unusual leaves to inspect, flowers to sniff, and sunsets to watch. You have eyes that want to take in more than what’s right in front of you, and those eye muscles need exercise as well. Your feet need varied textures, and your lungs need the fresh air given off by the trees as much as your soul needs to appreciate the scent of the woods and your mind needs a break from constant noise and information overload.
Here’s some inspiration for you. Get outside the box. Forage some mushrooms or nettles that you can make into a soup. Enjoy the mountains with your friends and family. Bring a dog if you have one! There is tremendous value in the connection with nature, the break from your day-to-day grind, and–yes–the steps (and elevated heart rate) you get on a walk in the woods. Plus, you can pretty much do push-ups anywhere you are. Bonus points if you do them on a fallen tree.