We all know how it goes. We start the year with good intentions to exercise and be healthy, but before we know it, the end of the calendar is looming. And with it, the approaching shadow of the inevitable winter belly starts to lurk.
Two of the main obstacles that prevent us from being healthier are time and money. But staying fit doesn’t need to cripple your wallet, and it doesn’t need to involve hours of toiling away in the gym.
Here are some ways to get in shape with minimal cost, all year round.
Why bother with exercise in the first place?
Well, our bodies were literally designed to move. Every day your body and brain crave physical activity.
A really good way to think of exercise is as an investment in yourself. You make a small sacrifice in the moment that will really pay dividends in the future.
Motivation is something a lot of us struggle with. But the truth is, it’s often just a case of turning up. If you keep showing up, you’ll realise that motivation actually plays a small part – it’s more about habit.
Are there cheap ways to exercise?
The great thing about exercising is that there’s something for everyone. Any ability, any age and any budget.
It’s also important to try and complement body movement with healthy eating. There are plenty of ways to eat well for less, and simply choosing a cheap supermarket is one easy tactic to spend less and still get good nutrition.
When it comes to moving, here are some of the best ways to save money.
This is a type of exercise that’s unbelievably good for your muscles, bones, and joints. What’s even better is that it can be practised cheaply.
Just buy a low-cost mat online or find materials around the house like a good blanket or large towel. Then, using free YouTube lessons (Yoga with Adrienne is my personal favourite) or a cheap app like Down Dog, you can become a bona fide yogi in no time.
If you really want to do it in person, here are a couple of tricks:
- Most city studios will offer very cheap introductory passes, so it’s possible to hop around different studios using the trials
- Often gym memberships will also include classes, which can be very good value
Everyone hates running in the beginning. It’s hard work, but if you keep it up, you’ll reach a point where you start enjoying the buzz of hitting the road. It’s all about building that routine.
What’s great about running is that all you need is a decent pair of shoes (and some comfy socks). Don’t get sucked into the trap of thinking you need loads of fancy kit.
This is an exercise that can be done almost anywhere, in any weather, and you can adjust your distance and pace accordingly.
If running is just too much, go out for a walk instead. Regular walks over time do wonders for your general fitness and mental health.
You don’t need an expensive gym membership to work out. There are plenty of great workouts you can do without the need for expensive memberships.
It doesn’t cost anything to do small circuits in your home, garden or a nearby park. If you need some help with the movements, there’s so much great information available online.
Two sites worth checking out are the Men’s Health and Women’s Health websites. The magazines cost money but some online articles are free, explaining different exercises with little videos. The NHS also provides a selection of quick 10-minute workouts and other ways to stay fit for free.
How can I save time when exercising?
Being healthy isn’t all about pumping iron or running marathons. It’s the little decisions and moments in life where you use your body. Here are my top tips for saving time and keeping fit:
- If you’re joining a gym, go for one that’s as close as possible to your home or work.
- Ditch the phone. Unless you’re using it for music, there’s no need to waste time scrolling and adding unnecessary minutes to your workout.
- Create a time frame. If you only have half an hour, then just do a quick 20-minute blast of exercise.
- Before working out, have a plan. Otherwise, it’s like aimlessly wandering around a supermarket with no list
- Incorporate movement into daily habits. Try and do some press-ups before you hop in the shower or do a wall sit while you’re brushing your teeth.
- Take the stairs whenever you can and stand up as much as possible throughout the day.
- Park further away from the shops. There are usually more spaces and you can put in some extra steps!
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