Forget Gym Membership – Get Fit For Free

Gym memberships are expensive and often tie you in for an entire year. Even if you’re enthusiastic now, don’t immediately sign up in the New Year, because if you’re really not ready for the commitment you could end up paying £30-40 a month for nothing! Instead, try a couple of months of free fitness; then if you stick at it, treat yourself. Here are some tips.

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Fitness facts – before you start

  •  Work out how many calories you’re burning
  •  Don’t over-exert yourself; start small, push sensibly
  •  Always warm up and cool down to prevent injuries
  •  Hydrate properly – tap water is perfect
  •  Get checked over by your GP if you’re over 40 or have health concerns
  •  Weigh yourself weekly or monthly
  •  Develop a weekly routine that varies activities to keep interest
  •  Keep a record of what you have done in minutes or reps

1. Walking, jogging, running

For some time the Guardian website has been running (excuse the pun) a feature that gets people from ‘couch to 5k’. If you think this is way too much too soon, well thank goodness you didn’t join the gym! But seriously, brisk walking is good for you and can be one daily activity that will easily get your blood pumping.

Money-saving tip: your old jogging pants and T-shirt are fine: don’t be tempted to invest in new gear unless it’s an essential – like good running shoes.

2. YouTube yoga

In fact, there are online videos for all kinds of exercise including martial arts style exercising like tai chi. Choose something that’s suitable for your fitness level and experience, and opt for videos where there are several in a series by the same person, they are recent and they have plenty of views and followers.

Money-saving tip: filled plastic water bottles and food tins are handy weight substitutes.

3. Outdoor gym/trim trail

Your local park or recreation ground might have a trim trail, where you can exercise on cross trainers and other equipment for free – as long as you don’t mind doing it in public! If you haven’t used a piece of equipment before, it might be worth doing a little googling to see how to use it safely.

Money-saving tip: don’t take the car – warm up and cool down by walking briskly, swinging your arms, to and from the outdoor gym.

4. Get fit by App

Phone and tablet Apps can help you get fit – and many are free. Some are from sports brands – like the Nike Training Club – while others are not so famous – like Human – but can still help you achieve your goals. Just don’t be tempted to buy branded gear unless you’re using it as an incentive to succeed!

Money-saving tip: make your own playlists from music you already have (or even dig out your old mix tapes) rather than add to your iTunes collection.

5. Spring cleaning and DIY

Any activity that raises your heart rate burns fat, works muscle (including your heart) and strengthens your lungs. In theory, this includes energetic housework like vacuuming, mopping, mowing the lawn, cleaning the windows, painting the walls and washing the car. And it keeps your house looking lovely!

Money-saving tip: cut down spending on junk food and sweet treats in your shopping trolley.

Did you know that housework and even redecorating your home can also help you get fit? To inspire you to redecorate to a budget, see our blog post Calculate the cost of redecorating your home.

Fitness, Money Saving, New Year's Resolution

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