Personally, I don't mind the gym. It is a nice sterile environment where I can go to get just about any type of workout. Plus, with the "free" gym on IUP's campus, there is no reason not to workout and utilize the facility. Of course, there are days where I really don't want to go, and I completely understand the reasons given by people for not preferring the gym (don't confuse this with excuses for refusing to exercise within your ability). The intimidation factor is real (not that it should stop people from going if they want to), waiting for machines can be annoying and time consuming, gym memberships are expensive, going can be time consuming, etc. For those of us that like variety, going to the gym can also become repetitive.
With that being said, exercise is still very important no matter who you are and your skill level. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week for along with strength training for most adults. Dislike of the gym is no reason to avoid exercise all together. Luckily, there are various ways to exercise and even to enjoy it while achieving your personal fitness goals:
If You Are A Beginner:
Firstly, if you are suffering from any health condition that may cause problems while exercising, consult a doctor first. And remember you don't have to become a body builder. Even small amounts of exercise can drastically improve overall health. Taking a fitness test to determine where you should start may be helpful. From this point, there are varying beginner's workout programs to help you build strength and endurance. Remember that progress takes time and to explore your options until you find something you like.
If You Are Introverted:
This one also works if you are anxious and intimidated at the gym or lack the time to go or money for a membership. There are plenty of workout videos available on YouTube and I'm sure you'll find something you'll enjoy. From traditional workouts requiring no equipment to Zumba and kickboxing (my personal favorite), there is something for everyone. Workouts also vary in time from 10 minutes to over an hour allowing them to fit into any busy schedule.
If You Are Outdoorsy:
Being outdoors is therapeutic and activities such as hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking or simply walking on a trail are so enjoyable, they don't even feel like exercise. Do a google search for state parks and activities in your area and get going or simply enjoy a brisk walk outside for 20 or 30 minutes each day.
If You Are Competitive:
Maybe you played three sports in high school or were the valedictorian of your graduating college class. Competition is what drives you. Playing sports in a club or local league could be beneficial to you (fencing in college saved my life). If organized sports aren't your thing consider training for a race such as a 5k, 10k or half marathon.
If You Are Motivated By Others:
Sign up for a fitness class or find a workout buddy to use any of these ideas with! Most college and local/chain gyms offer classes such as spinning, Les Mills classes or even aquatic classes. Being in a high energy environment with other people working on their fitness goals is great motivation!