MCGC Nutrition

Staying Active Without A Gym: 8 fun ways you can burn calories and have fun!

Marie-Claire Gahel-Calouche

As a busy parent and professional (or both), it can be challenging to make time for exercise. We all know that moving is important for health, but work can get in the way. I too can sometimes struggle, especially as a working parent with lots to do in a day.  

Though not a physical activity expert, I do praise the importance of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. I have therefore decided to share the ways, some more creative than others, that I try to keep active at home. Staying active doesn’t mean having to join a gym, expensive equipment, or take up hours of your day.  

It also doesn’t have to be a chore. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re probably going to keep doing it in the long term. There are plenty of ways to stay fit without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. Read on for some ideas that you can enjoy, and I have even added some that are family friendly too!


1- Pedometer

A pedometer is an affordable device you can use to track how far you walk each day. You don’t need a fancy model; any basic pedometer will do. The goal here is simply to get yourself walking more than usual so that you hit your daily step goals. It’s amazing how quickly steps add up throughout the day – especially when you’re chasing after young kids, taking public transit, doing housework, or even shoveling the snow! Need extra motivation? Set up competitions between family members or challenge yourself by setting higher goals every week—you might be surprised by how quickly they add up!  


2- Les Mills Bodycombat for Oculus  

If you love virtual reality games, or you’re a fan of boxing or MMA this one is for you! This VR program provides an immersive experience that feels like a real-world gym class – but without the hassle of having to leave home. Yes, you get a full-body workout from the comfort of your home. 

This is one of my favorite ways of burning calories right now! It was so much fun and a great way to let off steam in the day. It will make you sweat and you will probably feel it the next day, so you know it working 😊 You can choose intensity level as well as the duration that best fits your schedule.  


3- Play Throw Throw Burrito  

Yes, you can play with your food!!! Ok, so this is really a card game but with a fun twist… it is essentially a play on dodgeball. It pairs physical activity with a card game so you’re moving around…LOTS. It’s perfect for any age group and can play from 2 to 6 players and can be paired with Throw Throw Avocado (this just gets better!) This game is hilarious! I laugh so much with my kids, wonderful for game night and yes, you will be out of breath by the end. The best part is it’s family-friendly and lots of fun. There is also another version called Extreme Outside Edition, for those who prefer to play this outside.  


4- YouTube Fitness Routines 

The internet is full of countless fitness routines that don’t require any special equipment or costly gym memberships. The best part is it’s FREE and you can find from beginner-level classes to advanced workouts. You don’t need any equipment either – just follow along with the videos in your living room or bedroom! Not sure where to start? Here is one of my favorites full body YouTube workouts: 45-Minute Tabata workout by POPSUGAR Fitness. 


5- Just Dance For Nintendo Switch

If dancing is more your style, then check out Just Dance for Nintendo Switch. This game has lots of songs and dance moves to choose from – perfect for kids and adults alike! Plus, it’s an excellent way to get everyone up and move around while they laugh their way through each routine.  This isn’t about being the best dancer on the dance floor but a great way to have fun, burn calories and, for parents, have quality time with their kids while reaping the health benefits. 


6- Wanna build a snowman?

 What winter in Montréal would be complete without a little snow…actually, a lot. Why not take advantage of that snow? Get outside and enjoy some fresh air while building snowmen together as a family or playing tag in the snowdrifts!   

All those hours spent rolling snowballs around will help burn off some calories while creating lasting memories with your family… bonus points if anyone remembers to build Olaf too :)   


7- The Scientific NY Times 7-Minute Workout

Don’t let its simplicity fool you; this workout packs quite a punch! This workout has been around since 2013 and I love it because it’s short and effective. It was developed by scientists as an efficient way to get fit quickly without needing access to equipment or a gym membership. 

There is also an advanced version of this workout that you can try if you want to challenge yourself or add some variety.  


8- Cleaning

Yes, cleaning! Cleaning isn’t just a chore—it’s exercise too! Vacuuming and mopping floors burns calories just like any other form of physical activity – just make sure not to forget about dusting those shelves too!  

Why not make a game out of it? Play the music loud or make a competition prize where 1st one done get chore duty off for the next week!!! Whatever the motivation this can definitely be a fun way to get things done, have some family time and yes, do your chores with a smile on your face. 

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