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Clean Up Your Fitness Routine: The Case Against Gyms

Gyms are energy-sucking, disease-riddled, crowded, and often expensive.

Some people fear a painful death after a prolonged battle with cancer. Others, when they envision the worst possible demise, picture a horrifying car crash. Me? There is nothing I fear more than the idea of dying at the gym. I can picture it too well: One minute, I'm on the elliptical, maybe a little sweaty and winded, but definitely alive. And the next, I'm slumped over the still-rotating pedals, Rihanna blaring in the background as a semi-circle of physically fit gay men look pityingly upon my prone body until it slides off the machine, motionless, and I am pronounced dead of an aneurysm or a heart attack. There is no dignity in dying in a sports bra.

I understand that this is a strange fear, even for a former nerd who barely survived high-school phys ed. But in light of the argument I'm about to make, let's just consider it full disclosure. Because I'm here to suggest you stop going to the gym. That's right!

Gyms are energy-sucking, disease-riddled, crowded, and often expensive. It's an industry that exists because people pay a lot of money for the privilege of not meeting their personal health goals. (People overestimate the amount they'll use their membership by as much as 70 percent.)

Exercise outdoors. Hiking. Jogging. Biking. Doing yoga in the park. There's some evidence that an old-fashioned run burns more calories than the same mileage clocked on the treadmill. But, you protest, what about winter? What if I'm a woman who doesn't feel safe running outside alone? What if my neighborhood doesn't have any green space? Exercise in your own home. Find a workout DVD that fits your needs. Do a little living-room yoga.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Sean Venn

We're giving away $500 to put this challenge into action! Participate in the 'Clean Up Your Act' challenge on GOOD Maker here.

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