People exercising at fitness gym. Freepik

Exercise is for everybody. That is a fact. We should all do it because we’re all human and humans need to move and sweat sometimes to stay healthy and lively and sexy. We can’t have nice, shiny skin and firm arms and stomachs without effort, right?

You know what is NOT for everybody? The gym. That is also a fact. Because while many love the hard-work environment and fitness fellowship or space to get swole in solitude the gym can provide, many simply cannot stand that place. The reasons for their disdain for gyms are varied.

“The gym can be kinda intimidating, especially for newbies,” says Kim P. while taking a short break during the daily run at Piedmont Park she recently incorporated into her life. Aside from potentially being clueless about what to do and how to use the equipment, sometimes gym newcomers are thrown off by the more experienced members. “I used to look at the stuff other people were doing and feel like there was no way I’d ever be able to do that. So, it made me hesitant to even go.”

“I experienced some of that, too, but that’s not the reason I stopped going to the gym,” adds Kim’s running buddy, Sheena, who has been exercising a little longer than Kim but is still relatively new to the game. “I stopped going ’cause people are nasty and they stank. Like, I just cannot.”

Ahh, yes – hygiene. It has always been a key factor in determining the quality of a fitness facility, but in these times of COVID it’s more important than ever. A lot of people can’t bring themselves to even set foot into a gym nowadays for fear of contracting COVID-19 and taking it home to their families, and that concern is valid.

But don’t fret. There are several ways to continue or begin your fitness journey that don’t involve going to the gym, and we here at HealthPlus have a couple suggestions.


Spring just started springing somewhat consistently here in Atlanta, and the mild temperatures provide the perfect atmosphere for some outdoor training. 

As referenced earlier, Piedmont Park’s Active Oval features a half-mile track, baseball field and volleyball courts. There’s even an area designated for traditional set-and-rep work like you’d find at the gym.

If Piedmont is inconvenient, there are parks all over Atlanta with tennis courts, walking trails, basketball courts and the like. If counting reps isn’t your thing, then it’s easy to find something more involved to do. The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation has a comprehensive parks list on its website. They even offer links that narrow the list down to parks with playgrounds, sports fields, pickleball courts, even skateboard parks.

Of course, you could also just jog or walk around your neighborhood, or hit the backyard and do your thing there. You could even get a bike and ride it. 

But if you’re just too indoors-y for all that, you could always …


At your home you control everything and don’t have to deal with anybody you don’t want to – well, except for your kids – so it might be the perfect place to get yourself right.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can easily find programs that’ll walk you through everything and require only a smartphone, minimal to no equipment and your desire. X28 Fitness, which is like P90X with swag, and the step-based aerobics class Get Down, Stay Down are two such programs, both created by Atlanta natives. There are also a myriad of apps that’ll guide you through your workouts, and if you’ve got a little money to invest, you might opt for a trendy Peloton bike or the futuristic Mirror.

Then, there are always the basics. You can’t go wrong with staples like pushups and squats. Purchasing a cheap jump rope is one of the best decisions you can make. It’s a fantastic tool for toning and cardio and doesn’t require any special training. That jump rope is a cheat code, for real.

The fact of the matter is that if you’re serious about your fitness, you’ll find a way to get to it. Even in a pandemic you have options, you’ve just gotta exercise them.