8 ways to get fit for free
Whilst expensive gym memberships or exercise classes may put you off getting fit, here are eight ways to do it for next to nothing.
1. Outdoor swimming
In warmer months, swimming is a lovely way to cool off – especially if you’re lucky enough to live near the coast. Wild swimming in a river or pond is also enjoyable during the summer but check that your chosen bathing spot is safe before taking the plunge.
2. Green gym
Free outdoor gyms have sprung up in parks around the country over the last decade so you needn’t spend a fortune on a health club. Typically containing equipment such as exercise bikes, cross-trainers and press machines, you can combine your workout with a walk or jog around the park. Find your nearest one here.
3. Dance your socks off
If you’re mobile and have some tunes and a speaker, turn up the volume and get out of your chair for a boogie. Even chair dancing has its benefits for the less mobile – shake your arms to the music and wiggle all you can!
4. Start running
The Couch to 5k app offers step-by-step instructions for getting off the sofa and clocking up the kilometres in nine weeks. With celebrity trainers and progress trackers, it also includes tips, advice and case studies of success stories. (Remember to check with your GP before you start running if you haven’t exercised for a while.)
5. Take the stairs
Do you work or live on an upper floor? Then take the steps each morning and watch how less breathless you are from week to week.
6. Do a fitness video
There are plenty of free fitness videos on the internet and the NHS has even commissioned some of its own. Belly dancing, yoga or a home workout – take your pick.
If you want to exercise outdoors with others, and fancy giving back to your community, then joining the GoodGym could be for you. A session involves a group run and then helping with a task such as community gardening or visiting an isolated older person. It’s free though many members contribute to the charity to aid its running costs. See goodgym.org
8. Go for a brisk walk
Public Health England’s advice1 is to focus on the speed at which you walk rather than the number of steps per day.
The advice is that 10 minutes of brisk walking each day is an easy way for adults to introduce more moderate-intensity physical activity into their lives and reduce their risk of early death by up to 15%.
Whatever exercise you choose, you’ll reap the rewards as regular moderate exercise can lower blood pressure, help stave off dementia, help you maintain a healthy weight and decreases the risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.