Hit the road!
The cheapest way to get fit and lose some pounds is to pull on your trainers, head through the front door and go running or power walking. No special equipment or clothes are needed and you don’t need to book ahead.
Get the most out of your session by putting in some planning; plot your route using an online map, so you know how far you have run and factor in rest breaks and a few hills as well.
It’s a dog’s life…
If pounding the tarmac is just too dull, then mash things up a little. Borrow a friend’s dog and venture into more rural areas. Hurl a ball or a Frisbee about. If you enjoy it you can even start charging for your time (only don’t go and buy a dog yourself – that will cancel out all your gym subscriptions savings!). Here’s some tips for running with a dog.
Back to basics
If the last time you went to a municipal leisure centre was when you got your school swimming badge, then take a fresh look. Local authority gyms are well-stocked with the latest equipment and employ skilled trainers, but at a fraction of the price to the user.
You can turn up and pay as you go, so you can mix and match your workout to suit your budget. While you are pounding away in the gym, check out the swimming pool. Easy on the joints and the best way to all-round fitness, swimming at your local pool costs far less than at a swanky gym, for exactly the same benefits.
Go window shopping
If you like the structure of gym classes and the fact that the teacher does all the thinking for you, then start looking in newsagent and post office windows. This is where you will find adverts for local classes held in nearby church or village halls. Yoga and zumba classes are incredibly popular, and will only cost you a few pounds a week. GoMammoth’s London Zumba classes for example are a good introduction to Zumba as you don’t need to pay for a long term gym membership to access the classes. Make sure the teacher knows what they are doing and has insurance, and you can get a fantastic, regular workout and meet people from your neighbourhood as well.
Move up a league
If it is the sociable aspect of going to the gym that appeals to you then be sure to check out local sports leagues – your local authority will have a list. Pick the right sport and joining a local league can transform your social life along with your fitness levels.
You will meet like-minded people, have access to specialised equipment for a (usually) reasonable subscription, and also enjoy the thrill of competition.
Stay home alone
If you are really feeling the pinch and don’t want to lay out any money at all then stay at home with a length of washing line – and skip. Exhausting, but a fantastic fast-track to fitness.
If you have the willpower to motivate yourself, there are plenty of smartphone apps that will sort you out a home exercise programme. A good one will let you enter in your stats and goals and plot your progress. Cheaper than a personal trainer and certainly not as bossy!