Skip the Workout! 11 Alternative Movement Ideas

Today, I have a guest post from the lovely Lauren at Breathe & Nourish (don't you love that name?). I am so glad I discovered her wonderful blog where she writes about intuitive eating, movement, and how nourishing ourselves is such a gift. Keep reading for her thoughts on movement. This is something I've recently embraced, as I've chosen intuitive exercise and choosing movement that feels good rather than exercise that I "should" or "have" to do.
Skip the Workout! 11 Alternative Movement Ideas

I’m not a big fan of the terms “exercise” or “work out” because they have negative connotations. These words carry a lot of my emphases I had in my past on weight and shame.

I believe that they also have a select group of activities that are deemed appropriate. These are usually high calorie burning and high impact. For example, have you ever been told that you should run instead of walk because it’s “better for you”? I sure have. But you know what? It’s not better for everyone. It’s a high impact activity that can be hard on your body and for a lot of people, not enjoyable.

For years I would feel guilty for walking because I had been told I should run because it burns more calories and is supposedly best for me. But knee issues are prevalent in my family, and I don’t always enjoy running. There’s actually nothing wrong with walking and if I enjoy it more, chances are it’ll get me up and moving if I’m doing something I enjoy.

So let’s ditch the concept that certain movement activities are better than others. Leave the movement hierarchy behind. Find a variety of movement practices that you enjoy fulfilling different purposes, such as building your strength and getting your heart pumping.

Mix it up, don’t let yourself get bored.

Check out coupons and promotions for ideas that you haven’t thought of before. I check out LivingSocial or Groupon for ideas. But if you’re stuck, here are some alternative ideas for movement:


At your house, in a studio, or in a group exercise class at a gym. I find that it’s really helpful to practice in a class because you’re able to learn the proper form before hitting the mat at home. Even when I think I’m doing a pose correctly, the instructor can see my placement in space better than I can!


You can do this by yourself or with a friend. I love combining socializing with walking. Sometimes I even incorporate walking into my errands, but that’s because I currently live close to a lot of places I can shop. If you have a pet, you can walk with them too.


Getting outside for movement does more for your bod than just being inside a gym could ever do. Hiking gives you different views than possible from just walking around the block. I find it to be extremely challenging, but I’ve enjoyed it more recently with friends.


In the ocean, in a pool, with kids or by yourself. When you’re with people you can always incorporate games like Marco Polo or throwing a ball back and forth.

Climbing hills or stairs

You could even naturally incorporate this into your lifestyle by choosing to take stairs when elevators or escalators are available. At my school there’s a large set of stairs to get from a parking lot to campus that is called “cardio hill”. They aren’t joking, my heart is pumping each day I climb those stairs to class!

Free weights at home or in a gym

You can use magazines, Pinterest, videos, or blogs for inspiration on what motions to do with them to keep it fresh and exciting.


You can go on a bike solely for exercise or get a stationary bike for your living room. Or you could use it as your transportation around town.


In the last year or so I’ve tagged along at a line dancing bar with my friends. There are all sorts of ways to dance though, you could take a Zumba class, go ballroom dancing, go to a club, or just have a dance party in your living room with your kids.


Did you know that intense spring cleaning could be a form of movement? Just think about all the muscles it takes to scrub the tub. Vacuuming the house? Yeah, that’s movement. Gardening? Mowing the lawn? All movement.

Hula-hooping & other toys

Remember when this was a thing? Or remember Skip-It? (Do they still make these? I want one!) Haha, playing with these kinds of toys can be fun when you aren’t feeling like going for a walk. Oh and if you’re super high-tech, there are video games for movement too: the Wii!

Play a sport

There are all kinds of sports out there that you can play. It’s not too late to pick up a sport for movement. Invite friends or find a Meetup group in your city. Check out the local YMCA or community center.I could keep going! There are so many different ways that we can get up and move our bodies, the trick is to find ways that YOU’RE into and want to do on a regular basis. Keeping it exciting and social is the best way to make it a regular habit in your day-to-day routine.

Ditch the workout mentality and find ways that you like to move your body.

Don’t focus on burning calories or working to get rid of certain fat or food. Concentrate on how it makes you feel and what it’s doing for your body as a whole - mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically.

Now go do some enjoyable movement now, will you?

Share with us! We'd love to know in the comments below...

1. What’s your favorite movement?

2. What’s something new you want to try?

I'll go first...Right now, I LOVE yoga and hiking, or any type of movement outside.. I want to try stand-up paddleboarding, and luckily, I have a groupon to use for it. Maybe SUP yoga in the future too!