If I don't get to the gym today, I'll never work out!

Have you ever felt like this before? Often, perfect is the enemy of the good when it comes to fitness. Sure, it's great to go to the gym and sweat it out for a while, but is that the only way to get a workout in on a busy, hectic day? What if you're not able to go to the gym due to finances or a lack of transportation? Perhaps you find working out at the gym incredibly boring and you're looking for something completely different to keep you motivated?

Whenever getting a regular workout is a struggle, it's time to think outside the box! It would be better to do something unconventional to promote your fitness and wellbeing for situations when a full workout just isn't in the cards...whatever your reason may be. There are several different ways you can get a solid workout without hitting a weight rack or a treadmill. To help, we've compiled a list of six activities that will help nudge you along your fitness journey when a trip to the gym just won't fit into the day's agenda.

Take the Stairs

We're all familiar with this old piece of fitness advice: take the stairs instead of the elevator. Sure, it may be a trite saying, but there's a lot of truth to this old maxim. Did you know you burn anywhere from five to ten calories per flight of stairs according to Livestrong? Simply by taking the stairs at work, or going up and down the stairs at home for ten minutes, you can burn calories while strengthening your quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. The elevator simply can't do that!

Jump Rope

This activity, typically relegated to schoolyards and boxing gyms, has gone mainstream over the past few years. The reason is simple: jumping rope is an incredible cardio workout that has the ability to target both your upper and lower body. If you're looking into jumping rope for a workout, don't buy a cheap rope at your local dollar store. Not all jump ropes are created equal! You can typically find "speed ropes" made of durable steel wire coated with PVC plastic for around ten dollars.

Start a Garden

Depending on the area of the country you live in and the current season, this may not be a possibility at the moment. Yet, gardening is a tremendous way to encourage both your health and your wellness. Starting and maintaining gardening can be strenuous work, and working outdoors in your yard will give you some valuable exercise. Consider starting a small garden with seasonal plantings, and we are certain you'll find it to be tremendously satisfying.

Become a Referee

Who gets as much exercise as the folks playing a team sport, without actually having to put in the hours of commitment of being on a team? Referees! Consider becoming a referee for your local youth league. We recommend basketball or soccer for those looking for maximum cardio, but any team sport will give you the opportunity to get your sweat on a bit. Plus, this is one of the few workouts that you won't have to pay for. In fact, they'll likely pay you! Don't forget a water-resistant watch for any unpredictable weather conditions if you're reffing outdoor games.

Take a Swim

While swimming isn't the most unconventional method of exercise you'll find, it's often ignored by most people other than triathletes and those who participate in swim meets. The fact is that swimming is one of the most engaging (and downright fun) full-body workouts you can find. Whether it's the pool in your backyard, a local swimming hole, or your local fitness center around the corner, swimming is a low-impact workout that utilizes muscles that rarely get used through any other type of exercise

Get a Dog

Going on a walk, a run, or a hike with your dog each day is a tremendous way to get in some exercise while also helping clear your mind. Daily walks, jogs, or runs have numerous health benefits including muscle toning, mood improvement, energy boosts, and more. To up the effectiveness of your walk or run, put some training insoles in your shoes to encourage a proper midfoot strike. You could possibly help ward off an injury later by using the proper walking or running stride today.

Whatever you end up doing to meet your fitness goals, remember that your main motivation should be to move. Find ways (even unconventional ones) to keep moving, and you'll find that you'll reap a host of fitness and health benefits!

Author's Bio: 

Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry and the world of fitness.