Doesn't it seem unfair that getting fit should be so costly? There are so many alternatives to the gym that don't cost half as much, and even some that won't cost you anything at all!
Go on, admit it. How many of you have started the year with the best of intentions, signed on that terribly expensive dotted line at the gym, turned up with fully-fledged exercise enthusiasm on the first day, and then slowly dropped off the fitness bandwagon?
We know we’ve done this a fair few times before. OK, OK, a lot of times before. And we dread to think of all that money we’ve wasted on memberships that just didn’t last. Because let’s face it: gyms are expensive. Very expensive. And doesn’t it just seem so unfair that getting fit should be so costly? There are lots of alternatives to the gym that don’t cost half as much, and even some that won’t cost you anything at all.
If you’re mulling over that £50 a month membership, stop! Take a look through these suggestions that will tell you how to get fit without the gym and remind you that keeping fit is possible anywhere. From your living room, to your local community hall to the park, there are all sorts of sports and fitness activities you can get involved with that don’t need an expensive membership.
And seeing if you can stick to these ideas will be a great test of whether that gym membership will be worth it for you, after all.
Click through the gallery to see our cheap gym alternatives…
What’s your New Year fitness plan? Let us know in a comment below.
Swimming! Whether you choose a gentle breaststroke or a fast-paced front crawl, being in water is great for mind, body and soul.
Unlike the gym, you won’t need to fiddle about with complicated setttings on several machines that target different areas of your body – swimming works them all.
Lane swimming is much cheaper than the gym, and some sports centres may even offer free swims. Make sure you visit your local council website and look out for discounted deals.
OK ladies, so you might be thinking that this one’s a bit of a cop-out, but that’s only because you think you won’t stick to it (in which case, you definitely shouldn’t be signing up for a costly gym membership!).
A fitness DVD is a great test of whether you can commit to exercise and all from your own home, providing you have enough space!
And there are some really brilliant ones around in our round-up of the best fitness DVDs, plus we tell you where you can buy them too.
Joining a gym can mean going on your own and missing out on the motivation that comes from doing it with friends. Adding a competitive element like joining a team not only means that you’ll have people to discuss your fitness with, but goals to aim for that don’t simply include standing on the scales at the end of the week.
Re-awaken the school girl in you and join a netball team!
One of the cheapest pieces of gym equipment, but so much fun and can be used indoors or out. What’s more, it’s said that you can lose seven calories per minute from the simple exercise and it doesn’t just have to be standing up swinging the hoop around your body, either. Hooping.org has some great ideas to get you hooping like a pro, whether you want to try the Bouncy Jump, Chest rolls or any other moves to have fun and get fit.
And to think you thought your hula hooping days were over hey?
Not joined Parkrun yet? They organise free weekly runs all over the UK. They’re safe, easy to take part in and the whole family can come. Plus they’re always held in lovely scenic parkland, far more interesting than the brick walls in the gym, we think you’ll agree? You might find you much prefer some outdoor exercise to being stuck indoors.
To see where your local Parkrun is taking place, see their up-coming events.
Yoga, aerobics, Zumba, aqua aerobics, boot camps, Boxercise… dizzy yet?! Many gyms offer a pay as you go service on classes, so you can try out loads of different ones and see if any are for you for about a fiver, without having to commit to anything long term.
And if you discover a new love for one of them (pole dancing, anyone?), signing up to a block of classes will be cheaper than the monthly gym subscription!
We’re going to let you in on a little secret which your friends might not know about here. Most councils support local sporting facilities and clubs, meaning that there are places you can go to get fit and sessions you can join for absolutely nothing!
Not only are they free, but many of them are far more varied than what you’ll find at the gym. For example, basketball, kickboxing, orienteering, even underwater hockey – yes, really.
Look out for the sporting and leisure activities on your local council’s website, but shhh, don’t tell anyone, otherwise they’ll all want to join!
When you imagine exercising you might be thinking of sports vests, sweats, scary machines and the woman in front of you who is working far harder than you and not even breaking a sweat.
But we bet something that hadn’t sprung to mind was a pair of gloves and a trowel. It’s true that gardening is great for you! It keeps you active and can be hard but very rewarding work. And it’s really great for toning arms with all that weed pulling.
There are loads of gardening community projects that you can go along to and volunteer to keep public gardens looking their best. All you’ll need to invest in is a good old pair of dungarees and some waterproofs – far cheaper than a gym membership.
Here’s a great excuse to get yourself a snazzy pair of skates. There are loads of places you can rollerblade, there are even clubs and classes you can join if you feel you’re out of practice, including good old fashioned roller discos – what could be more fun that that?
This is something you can do with all the family, and doesn’t come with an ominous membership fee like the gym.
Ever wanted to dance the Mambo a la Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze? Dancing is a fantastic cardio workout, great for bone strength, not to mention being sociable and fun too. It’s one you and your partner and can do to get fit together.
Plus you can practice at home (much to the embarrassment of the kids), so will be much better value than the gym.
See what dance classes are available in your area. The thought of going for a good boogie a few times a week will be a far more tempting prospect that slinging your gym bag over your shoulder and heading for the treadmill…
Where to next?
– New Year, new bum: try the 30-day squat challenge
– 15 excuses we all make to avoid exercise
– How to exercise off your favourite treats