According to Medical News Today, it’s estimated that about 80% of folks who purchase a gym membership will ignore said membership. More alarming, U.S. individuals fork over about 12 billion annually for these unused gym memberships. All-in-all it would appear that a gym membership isn’t the best option for getting fit. Gyms also aren’t kind to the planet. How could they be? We build these massive structures that take up space and use up resources and why? So people can ignore them? It doesn’t make sense.
There’s a better, far less expensive option – join the nature gym. Nature is (mostly) free and way more fun than any old gym.
Benefits of joining your local nature gym include…
Beauty: The typical gym is boring and unattractive. Nature is anything but. You’ve got beautiful trees, amazing mountains, trails packed with mystery a plenty and so much more.
Appreciation: If you’re not out in nature, reaping its benefits, you won’t be as inclined to appreciate it. In turn you won’t be as motivated to keep nature healthy and thriving. Adults and kids who spend time in nature will see fit to conserve it.
Savings: Gym memberships are insanely expensive, costing upwards of $500 annually if you choose to enroll the whole family. Seriously, even if you stock up on top of the line outdoor gear, you’ll spend less over time. For example, $500 will get you an excellent bike that last years, tons of walking or hiking shoes for the family, some awesome toys (think frisbees, basketballs and jump ropes) and much more.
Easy: Nature requires no sign-up sheet, no carry-along key or membership card and no renewals. Walk out the door and you’re there. Well, sometimes you have to drive to get to a better piece of nature, but you’d also have to drive to the gym, so it evens out. Plus, you won’t need a babysitter – nature is kid-friendly.
Availability: The nature gym never ever closes. Not for bad weather, not for Christmas or anything else.
Esteem: Some people are brave enough to squeeze their out of shape thighs into shorts and make an appearance at the gym just to score a treadmill spot. Others of us are way too self-conscious for that. If you’re out of shape right now, but super committed to getting fit, it’s much easier to make that transition without all the staring. Really – slapping on a pair of jeans and a jacket and heading outside for a mile-long walk is so much less stressful than working out in front of other, more shapely folks.
Adventure: The really gym isn’t an adventure. It doesn’t change and it’s super dull. Nature is vastly more exciting. You may see ponds and frogs, deer or awesomely colored birds. You’ll see cool architecture, wonderful greenery, sunsets and rainbows. You don’t get any of this inside a gym. Nature changes daily and every single season your nature gym membership will reveal something new and amazing.
Scents: Let’s see, you can spend your time breathing in sweaty people, chemical plastic rubber mats, paint and sticky equipment or you can spend your life breathing in flowers, cedar trees, fresh grass and streams. Not a hard choice.
Health: Not only is being outside, breathing in the fresh air healthier than being stuck in a stale air gym, but exercising in the great outdoors can actually be more of a challenge than exercising at the gym. Natural landscapes provide new challenges all the time. You’ve got easy dirt paths and harder to manage mud and snow. Hills can work wonders for your legs and heart and sandy beaches provide exceptional workouts. Biking, inline skating, and jogging, even simply walking fast outside all provide more of a challenge than gym equipment because there are always different variables that make you think.
Happiness: Being outside is fun. Gyms make you feel like working out is, well, work. Nature is naturally enjoyable and a happy place, which means you’ll be more likely to stick with your active plan. In the end, the ONLY exercise that works is exercise you enjoy, and hiking is actually fun vs. doing a million rounds on an exercise bike as you stare at a blank wall.
Need ideas about ways to workout in nature:
- Hiking tips at GORP
- Find a state park
- Have an adventure (and exercise) with Geocaching
- 30 minute outside workout
- Cut screen time and get outside
- Locate cool trails
- Let’s Move Outside
- Explore your world
- 6 great ways to get fit outside
- Biking safety
- Get outside in winter + 35 ways to enjoy nature in winter
Have you ever had a gym membership? How worthwhile was it?