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From YouTube yoga to joining a running club: How to stay fit without going to the gym

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Hiking

Fall leaves turn yellow on the Skyline Divide Trail, with Mount Baker looming in the distance.

Walking into the IMA can be a frightening scene. The weight room feels like a dungeon full of ripped frat guys and fitness models. This environment can understandably be discouraging. As February comes and goes, attempts at New Year’s resolutions can seem bleak. If your January goal of going to the gym more, eating healthy, and overall attempting to thrive has begun to feel grim, there are other ways to stay active without trying to navigate the pressure of the IMA.

Being in Seattle means there are tons of ways to take advantage of the Pacific Northwest terrain. While walking around campus takes enough steps as it is, hopping on one of the many rideshare bikes found throughout campus could give you another way to get around, which is more active and timesaving. The U Bike bicycle library program allows students to rent bicycles for a monthly or quarterly fee. Taking one of these bikes or your own for a Sunday morning ride along the Burke-Gilman trail or by the water is another way to get up and active. 

Looking outside the U-District, there is a multitude of hiking trails to explore. Discovery Park in Magnolia has a three-mile loop that gives a great view of Puget Sound and even has a lighthouse. Located in Issaquah, the Poo Poo Point Trail hike is well worth the drive time. Meant for more intermediate hikers, the path is narrow with a steep incline, but the view at the top is spectacular. On days with decent weather, there are often paragliders getting ready to jump, which is another reward for reaching the top. 

Getting active can be easier if you have others to motivate you. There are several clubs on campus dedicated to housing a community of inclusive activity. The Husky Running Club meets every weekday in the Quad at 5 p.m. and takes runners of all skill levels, forming groups of similar levels to run together. If running isn’t your thing, the Rec Clubs Program has over 40 clubs, including soccer, kayaking, cycling, table tennis, and more; these could provide you with an easy way to stay active, meet new people, and have fun. 

If you’re more inclined to stay indoors, there are still several ways to stay active. The IMA offers a variety of classes that don’t fit the typical idea of the gym. For the dance-inclined, there are Zumba, ballet, or salsa classes. Or, if you’re looking for something more invigorating, there are a ton of conditioning classes offered. These include spinning, circuit training, kickboxing and more. While these classes do charge quarterly fees, there is a drop-in option for most classes that allows you to pay $6 to attend an individual session so you can try out different classes. 

There are also yoga and mindfulness classes offered at the IMA, but you don’t need to travel to the gym to practice yoga; there are a ton of YouTube channels dedicated to home practices. Yoga is a great way to not only work on total body strength but also improve mindfulness and encourage healthy thinking regarding exercise and beyond. 

Staying fit doesn’t have to mean doing the crazy workouts you see on Instagram. There are a ton of ways to get active and maybe fulfill those January goals without stepping into the gym. 

Reach writer McKenna Zacher at wellness@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @mckennazacher

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