How many excuses have you made so far in 2017 to avoid exercising? Is the gym too far away? Do you run out of time in the day? Or does it cost too much? The truth is, they are just that, excuses! Exercising doesn't have to cost a thing if you want to get out there and do it.
One of the most common reasons as to why people skip out on exercise is the idea that training properly has to cost money. Whether that be for a gym membership, investing in the best workout clothing or the need to have all the equipment that comes with exercising, such as weights. It's true that gym memberships can be costly, especially if you get tied into a 12-month contract and aren't able to keep it up, but there are other options.
Exercising should not be a financial burden. Whether your budget is small, large or non-existent, everybody can benefit from these tips to get fit for free!
Couch to 5k
Once you decide to get your running shoes on and start running, you've already achieved something. Unfortunately, if you have never run before (running for the bus doesn't count I am afraid) then don't be too disheartened if you are only able to go a short distance to start with; this is normal. There are many free programmes around designed to get you off the sofa and running 5k within a reasonable and safe time frame. The NHS have created an application which is based on three runs a week which starts off a few minutes at a time, and it gradually builds your ability up over time until you can run the full distance. Their programme was designed for the over 50's age bracket, which means it's very gentle, but there are plenty of other free applications available online to get you started.
If you want to join a group running activity but the thought of a running club is a little scary, search for your local Park Run event. These are UK based and usually take place on a Saturday morning where like-minded people join for a non-competitive, friendly 5k run around the local park or area. The best things about these are they are free, and you can track your progress online once registered.
Take the stairs
Are you somebody who waits for the lift or do you always head for the stairs? If you are a devotee to taking the lift, then think again. Everyday activities such as taking the stairs can have a powerful and positive impact on your health and fitness over time. Climbing stairs can increase your heart rate which can help protect against high blood pressure, weight gain and clogged arteries. It also exercises the bones and muscles, improving your strength and muscle tone. It's easy to build activities like this into your daily life, and it is something which you can sustain over an extended period, and best of all, it requires zero skills whatsoever, maybe just a little co-ordination!
If taking the stairs in buildings is something you do every day anyway and want to incorporate this into a fitness plan. You can add running up and down the stairs at home to get your heart racing or find a park to run in which has stairs you can climb and descend throughout your session.
Use YouTube for free fitness
YouTube is full of free fitness exercises, whether you're looking to improve your overall fitness level, build stronger abs or arms, there will be a video waiting to instruct you. A quick search of 'free fitness videos' online will produce hundreds of options for you. Make sure you have plenty of space in your home to practice and exercise like no one is watching in the comfort of your living room! Choose a highly rated video to make sure you are learning from the best and get going.
Include your dog
Taking your pet out for a walk can be the perfect chance to get some exercise. If you have a particularly energetic pooch, run around with them, race them and have some fun! Not only will you get a good workout, but you may also just tire your dog out too! Enjoying regular walks or runs with your dog can improve your cardiovascular fitness, lower your blood pressure and keep your bones and muscles strong.
Cycle to work
If your commute allows it and you are an owner of a bike (to keep it free!) then work out whether you can cycle to work. It's far healthier, cheaper and sometimes faster than sitting in your car, in traffic every morning or using public transport. Other than avoiding the beeping traffic, you can benefit from getting fresh air before heading into work; you will be burning calories, saving money, getting leaner every day and you will be reducing the amount of CO2 which is emitted from cars every day by taking yours off the road. So it's not only good for you and your bank balance, it's good for the planet too!
If you do not currently own a bike and want the opportunity to cycle to work, you can. See if your place of work will be willing to sign up to a UK Government-sponsored 'cycle to work' tax break scheme. The plan allows you to pay off a bike out of your pre-tax salary. The programme means you can save up to 43% on the cost of a new bike!
Gyms can be very expensive and often get very busy at peak times. There are some gyms which offer pay as you go schemes or low memberships, but that's not free! Across the country, you can find free-to-use outside gyms which have a range of equipment such as cross trainers and leg press, for example. You're not going to get the super fancy digital screens, heart monitors or emergency stop buttons but they are brilliant if you are looking to lose a pound or two in your local area without spending a penny. Check out 'The Great Outdoor Company' to find your nearest outdoor gym.