Going to the gym in the New Year seems to be a rite of passage. Every year, we make promises to ourselves to get a gym membership, get some exercise and be healthier after an indulgent December. Statistically, there is a major increase in trips to the gym in the New Year, which then gradually taper off as we head into February. We all start off with good intentions, but life and friends and work and family always get in the way, right?

While the gym is a great and easy way of getting in some weekly exercise, there is absolutely no necessity to go to the gym in the traditional sense if that’s not what you want to do. There are plenty of ways to get exercise for a healthier and happier lifestyle that don’t involve a room full of treadmills and weights. Some people love going to the gym and exercising, whereas others dread that 6am alarm reminding you of your promises (and direct debit) to the gym.

If you want to dedicate yourself to your exercise-related New Year’s resolution, whether it’s in the gym or out, we’ve got some tips to help:

GYM CLASSES

A good way of getting yourself to the gym, if you’ve already paid your membership fees, is to book a gym class. Most gym memberships include class bookings in the fee, so it won’t involve any additional costs. Plus, gym classes usually vary in the kind of exercise they focus on and the areas of the body that they target, such as gaining muscle or burning fat.

At bigger gyms, you can choose between Yoga, Combat, Spin, Weights and plenty more. For the set duration of the class, you’ll be at the gym doing exercise with an instructor and a class full of people holding you accountable – and if you’re anything like me, you definitely need accountability at the gym!

SWIMMING

If you’re lucky, some gyms will have a swimming pool onsite. Most memberships will either include access to the pool in their membership fee or tack on a small additional fee for it. Whichever is offered at the gym you choose, you’ll get access to a lovely swimming pool that is usually warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Swimming is a great form of exercise as it engages most muscles in your body, and it can be incredibly calming as well as freeing to be in the water. Before you take out your gym membership in the New Year, check whether a pool is included so you can enjoy a completely different and much more enjoyable time at the gym.

WALK OR RUN OUTSIDE

If you’re not willing to spend upwards of £20 a month on a gym membership that you’ll probably get bored of easily or not even use, there is an easy solution: the great outdoors. Try to walk to places instead of catching the bus or driving. Several short walks throughout a busy day can be a great way to slip some exercise in. If you want to get more cardio involved, go running outside and take different (but safe) routes each time, so that it doesn’t get boring. Looking at the same four walls when you’re running in a gym gets old quickly, but with the whole city of Brighton at your fingertips, what are you waiting for?

CYCLING TO WORK

Similarly, you can buy a bicycle and use it to cycle to work, a friend’s house, the train station, the shops, literally anywhere – although I wouldn’t recommend taking your bike on a night out, because it’s definitely a bad idea to ride while intoxicated!

The cost of a bicycle will work out better than the cost of an unused gym membership for 2020, and if you’re using it to go to work, you’re likely to get a good return on your investment. There’s no need to use the exercise bike at the gym when you’ve got a bike at home and plenty of places to cycle to!

A FUN SPORT

There are also lots of fun sports you can try out that are not offered at your standard gym. Think of the sport you wish you’d done as a kid and go and do it now. As long as you can afford any expenses involved, there’s nothing stopping you. It can sometimes be easy to forget that exercise is supposed to be fun, and trying out a new sport will probably be much more effective than the gym at getting you into the spirit of exercise, so take that leap and get out there!