Get fit for free - Jurg Widmer Probst

How to escape the gym and get fit for free

Many people are waking up to the idea of ditching their gym memberships. It’s fast becoming more popular to work out using body weight, online exercises and the great outdoors.

Recent research from Deloitte (the accountancy firm) show that fewer people are signing up for gym membership in the UK. Year-on-year, numbers are declining by around 55,000. The average monthly cost for gym membership can vary from around £35 on the cheaper end of the market, to as much as £100+ for more exclusive gyms. How many of us can justify this kind of extra expense in the current economic climate?

Lapsed membership

Added to the cost is the fact that only around 25% of gym members actually visit the premises regularly. It’s clear to see how much money is being wasted. But there are so many ways to exercise for free, or for minimal outlay, that it seems much healthier on the wallet and the mind to find new workouts outside of the gym.

Spencer McGawley, fitness and injury expert at The Functional Group said: “The great thing about training with your own body is that you burn more calories and get a greater increase in metabolism. You also develop far greater functional strength and fitness than you would by using static equipment in the gym.”

Daily routine

It’s all about integrating exercise into your daily routine. A research study by scientists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands says that it’s possible to achieve and maintain fitness without gym equipment. They found that people who go to the gym burn fewer calories overall across the week than people who integrate things like running, cycling and walking into their normal routine.

Exercising outside boosts endorphins and keeps you interested, while the sterile environment of the gym can quickly become boring. Fitness can be anytime, anywhere and any place. And research from the University of Florida shows that the more variety you have in your exercise regime, the more likely you are to stick to it. Breaking out of the confines of the gym is a great way to add interest into getting – and staying fit.

You don’t have to do the same exercise or sport every day, and by varying the location, time and type of exercise, you’re more likely to burn more calories, keep interest levels high and keep focused.

Here are just a few ways to get fit for free:

  1. Look out for trim trails

These are outdoor exercise stations often found in parks and recreation areas. Look on your local council website or do a search for your area to find the nearest one. Generally constructed next to cycle trails, they consist of equipment such as leapfrog blocks, balance beams and parallel bars. They usually have instructions printed next to each piece of equipment to show you how to use it safely, but if they don’t, do your research online first.

  1. Find a Green Gym

These are fantastic initiatives designed to improve both the environment and the health of people. There are 95 Green Gyms throughout the UK and typical activities include tree planting, clearing streams and undergrowth, making bird boxes, bramble clearing and creating glades for wild flowers. You will definitely work up a sweat while improving the countryside – good for the mind and the body.

  1. Use one-off trials at gyms

Search to find information on one-day passes for gyms and even personal trainers around the country.

  1. Walk, run, cycle

Get from A to B by walking, running or cycling. You’ll save on petrol or public transport costs and get fit at the same time. It’s a really rewarding way to build your fitness and improve your health and is great for the environment too. You can also see Walk the Way to Health website for information on more than 500 health walks across the country. They traverse parks and green spaces and are suitable for everyone, no matter your age or fitness level.

  1. Fitness DVDs / YouTube 

Visit YouTube for laods of free videos, borrow fitness workout DVDs, books from the library, or snap some up in charity shops on the high street. It’s easy to find a wide range of DVDs for free or very little money and it means you can vary your workout in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

How do you get fit for free? I’d love to hear from you. you can get in touch via my contact page.

Jürg Widmer Probst 

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