If you’re looking to improve your health and fitness but don’t want to spend the money on a high-price gym membership, don’t sweat it (no pun intended).
It’s entirely possible to exercise inexpensively with minimal (or no) equipment and without a gym!
It’s amazing how a little creativity can shrink your waistline and your costs.
A well-rounded and complete fitness routine includes cardio, strength and flexibility components – all of which can be done cheaply!
It’s important to ensure that your fitness plan incorporates activities that you enjoy and works within your budget.
When these things are all in balance, you’re more likely to stick with it for the long haul, yielding better results.
Get your heart pumping
There are countless ways you can get some cardiovascular activity without paying a gym to use their treadmills. Heading outside for a brisk walk or a jog is as simple as lacing up a pair of shoes.
The good thing about these activities is that you can easily adjust their intensity to suit your needs and you get all the added benefits of being outside in the fresh air:
- Sunlight (Vitamin D)
- Fresh air (Oxygen)
- Scenery, exploration & enjoyment (Meditation)
- etc, etc, etc.
If you’re looking to make cardio more scenic, scout out hiking trails near you. Taking your exercise to a new location and elevation will keep it interesting – a hilly terrain will get your heart pumping even harder.
You may already own some basic pieces of equipment like a bike or roller-blades. Well, it’s time to dig them out and dust them off!
Biking is a great form of cardio exercise to improve your aerobic fitness and rollerblading will work your heart, lungs and build a great butt at the same time. If you aren’t comfortable biking or blading on busy roads, most cities have networks of bike paths to use and if you need motivation, challenge you friends by using apps such as Strava or Nike+.
Don’t forget to include the family in your plans. Taking your dog for a long walk, or heading to the park with your kids to play a game of tag, are fun ways to work up a sweat without feeling like you’re exercising.
There’s also the added bonus of spending quality time with your family!
Boost your strength
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of strengthening your muscles is probably the weight room complete with dumbbells, machines and barbells. While these things are effective, they’re not necessary.
Strengthening activities require a force to be put on the muscles, which can be done inexpensively.
To start out, your own body weight can be used for resistance with exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and lunges.
To make these more challenging, you can increase the resistance with common household items such as cans of soup, large water bottles, bags of potatoes, or even heavy books.
Look around your house for items which are easy to hold and add enough extra resistance to challenge your body.
A small, multi-functional piece of equipment can take these workouts to the next level – the resistance band. Bands can be purchased through many sporting goods stores as well as online. In fact, for under £36 you can get an entire set of bands. It’s helpful to have a set with different tensions as it will allow you to customise your workout.
For smaller muscle groups like your arms you’ll need a lighter band compared to large muscle groups such as your legs. Many sets have a door anchor which allows you to hook the band to a stable object and perform exercises like rows, curls or even chest presses.
Think of these as a mini gym in a bag – you can pack them up and take them with you when you’re travelling to ensure you get your workout in anywhere!
Stay flexible and agile
Maintaining your flexibility and mobility is extremely important as you go through life.
Being mobile can help you create lasting memories like swimming with dolphins, catching a wave, abseiling down mountains, skydiving, or tearing up the dance floor with your loved one.
It can also save your life! Imagine falling down on a cold, frosty night and not being mobile enough to get up to safety!
According to the World Health Organisation, falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide, which is why maintaining a good range of motion in your muscles and joints extremely important, especially for the cost of a yoga mat and a small space.
Yoga, pilates, stretches and these exercises will all help you stay supple for longer…
DIY boot camp
Boot camps are a great way to get a full body workout done in as little as 45 mins; however, many organised boot camps charge a pretty penny for their sessions.
Skip the payment and head to a nearby park to create your own circuit-style workout. All you need is a park bench, some energy and your favourite music to burn some calories.
A simple formula to follow when constructing your workout is to pair a strength-based exercise with a burst of cardio.
For example, complete a set of push-ups with your hands on the bench and then go right into mountain climbers in the same position. Next, you can do step ups on the bench followed by jumping jacks. If you live near a playground, make use of the monkey bars by doing some pull-ups paired with burpees.
The options are endless!
Build a six-pack
Round out your workout with some exercises to target your mid-section.
Core exercises are a great way to finish off your personal boot camp session at the park or following a bike ride.
A yoga mat is another smart, yet cheap, purchase which will deliver a lot of bang for your buck – an investment of around £20 will provide you with a piece of equipment that you can pretty much use forever!
Roll out your mat to cushion your spine and complete sets of planks (facing front and both sides), reverse crunches, bicycle twists and classic crunches.
A strong core goes a long way in lowering your risk of injury when you’re being active – so don’t skip these exercises!
Exercising on a budget is easy!
Improving your health and fitness can be accessible to everyone, regardless of the amount of money they want to invest in it.
For those who aren’t interested in paying membership fees or club rates, there are many options to choose from.
You can start with these ideas or brainstorm some of your own.
When it comes down to being active, all you need is a pair of running shoes, some outdoor space and the willpower to chase down your goal.
Now, hit the road and work up a sweat!