If you’re a human being in the 21st century, chances are you have some form of workout strategy to keep yourself healthy. For most people, that means a gym membership; gyms remain the most efficient way to get a workout in for most of us—a one-stop shop with all the equipment and support services you need, plus a place to shower.
But gyms aren’t for everyone. Some folks find them too busy and too crowded. Some folks are intimidated by the physiques and experience of those around them (heck, one chain gym is actually leveraging that in their advertising). And some people just aren’t enthused about running on a treadmill staring at a video screen, or using various contraptions.
If the gym isn’t for you, you might think your choices are a) running and b) an at-home workout with some sort of other contraption. But that’s not true—there are actually some pretty incredible alternatives to the gym that will get you a great workout without the generic gym experience. Here are a few examples.
The Gravity Vault
Just opened, The Gravity Vault is an indoor rock climbing facility located on 15th Street and Clinton Avenue (behind where Porter Collins briefly reigned). The place is huge (25,000 square feet on two levels) and offers classes and independent climbing, WiFi, a retail shop, equipment rentals, and showers. There are also work spaces for those who need to get some work in between their workouts—and rock climbing, if you’ve never done it, is a workout.
Adult intramurals are growing in popularity because they offer both opportunities for exercise and competition and socializing. ZogSports offers a lot of sports programs for both groups who want to form teams and individuals looking to get their sweat on while meeting some new people. When it comes to exercise, nothing beats the freedom of competition, and fresh air always wins—even in the cold months.
The Stevens Pool
Some gyms offer pools, of course, but if all you want to do is swim a little (it’s great exercise!) the Steven’s Pool remains a fantastic choice. You’ll have to work around the pool’s schedule, of course, but instead of sweating your butt off strapped to some sort of machine, you’ll be able to stay fit and trim in a heated, indoor pool.
The only people who don’t think gardening is a workout are people who have never gardened in their lives. The fact is, gardening is hella hard work and you will feel the burn if you do it seriously. If you lack your own outdoor space, apply to get a community garden plot from the city and get to work. The bonus, of course, is that you get to harvest whatever you grow.
Of course, like swimming, some people would prefer to get their sweat equity on two wheels, and these days we have the option of the Hudson Bike Share program if you don’t want to bother owning your own bike (or don’t have room to store one). The great thing about the bike share approach is that you can literally turn every chore in your day into a workout—the miles and the physical benefits will add up.
Martial Arts are often thought about in terms of self-defense, but they are also incredible workouts. Hoboken offers a lot of programs—like Hoboken Jiu Jitsu, Hoboken Aikikai, and CKO Kickboxing, all of which combine serious training and physical fitness with the ability to kick some butt if your city ever needs defending.
Yoga is sometimes thought of as hippy-dippy meditation instead of exercise—but trust us when we say yoga will kick your butt, and will get you into shape. Hot Yoga is all the rage right now, and in the winter months it’s kind of incredible to sit in a sweltering room for an hour, but of course there are plenty of yoga options out there to choose from.
Gyms are great, and in urban areas they’re often necessary. But if you’re not a gym person, they can be a drag—luckily, you have a ton of alternatives to choose from. Which also means, no excuses!