Think outside the box! How to exercise when you hate the gym

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A young woman holding a white towel around her neck after working out outdoors.

Fitness is more popular than ever these days with the UK fitness industry reported to be worth £5 billion and counting there are more and more gyms popping up around the country. But what if you hate the gym? How do you get a great workout in without fighting the 10 million other people that swarm the gyms between 5-7pm?! Well I’m here to end your misery and tell you some fun ways you can get a sweat on without setting foot in a gym. 


Who doesn’t love trampolining, it’s such a good workout for the whole body and so much fun! Trampoline parks have popped up in most areas around the UK now and they even run classes if you want a more structured jumping session. If not, book an open bounce and get jumping! Not only will it improve your general strength but it makes your abs, legs and glutes work particularly hard. Bounce your way to a booty basically! If you’re really serious and think you might be the next best undiscovered gymnast search for your nearest centre here, otherwise a quick Google search will tell you where your nearest chain trampoline park is!

Horse riding

If you want a seriously strong core you should think about giving horse riding a go. Forget all those sit ups you thought you had to do, try staying upright on a galloping horse! Albeit horse riding is a little more pricey than the other options on this list but well worth a go if you love horses and enjoy being outside when exercising. Equine therapy has also become a regularly used tool in the UK for people with mental health and substance misuse issues due to their docile nature and sensitivity to emotion. If you use exercise as a form of relaxation and wellbeing support then horse riding could be a good choice. You can find your nearest accredited centre here.  If you’re concerned about cost you could contact your local centre and ask whether they need any help with their horses in exchange for some riding time. 

A woman bareback horse riding on the beach with a mountain in the background.

Outdoor fitness trails

I’m sure you’ve seen a few fitness trails on your travels, outdoor spaces which have exercise equipment dotted around them such as pull up bars, ladders, benches and parallel bars. Best of all the majority of these trails are completely free for you to use. It’s kind of like the gym but in much nicer surroundings and usually far fewer people fighting for one machine! If your local park doesn’t have a fitness trail then make your own, up hill sprints, push ups, squats. Be inventive and live your best fit-gal life in all that open space! 

Take it to the water

Water sports have exploded in popularity in the last 10 years, things like kayaking, rowing and or canoeing are all available to try and again you’re outside usually with some amazing views, burning a ton of calories and having fun! If you live by the sea you’re perfectly set up to try paddleboarding or surfing, if not there’s usually a natural or man made lake in or nearby most areas so you can get to grips with something completely new. Most are great full body workouts, I mean have you seen the muscles on those elite rowers! 

A sailboat racing on the ocean.


An obvious one but regularly overlooked! There’s a reason why boxers skip, it’s an incredible cardiovascular, full body workout and can be done easily almost anywhere you have the space. It’s also more gentle on your joints than running so a great choice if your knees are a bit knackered! You can grab a skipping rope for a fiver so it’s also a much cheaper option than the gym. Once you’ve got your technique down you can add in all sorts of tricks to make your sessions that little bit more interesting. 

Team sports

If you love the camraderie of being part of a team and having a shared goal to work towards, consider joining a team sport. Netball, football, hockey, the options are endless and you’ll always be able to find something that interests you. Also research shows that you’re much more likely to continue with something if you have other people relying on you to be part of their team. What are you waiting for, get out there and go join! 

There you have it, a few ideas for those of you that hate the idea of going to the gym. Let me know if you have tried any of these or do another form of exercise instead of going to the gym! 

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