FITNESS

The cheap guide to exercise

If you're clever, there are loads of ways you can work out for free! Here are some easy, fun ways to get fit and tone up without spending a cent.

9 Ways to get active

 

1. Get into step

The great outdoors doesn't come with handrails or rubber treadmills, so walking in the open air helps to improve your body's ability to balance and stabilise itself. And on a beautiful day, wouldn't you rather be out in the fresh air anyway?

 

2. Walk the dog

Why pay a trainer to keep you company when your best friend is only too willing to do it for free? Your dog will be only too delighted to go for a walk or a jog, will never complain or make excuses, and never seems to notice the rain.

 

3. Take a hike

Bush walking is a great way to vary the intensity of your cardio routine. The variation in terrain not only changes the cardiovascular workout but also the muscles used, which can offer a more thorough lower-body workout.

 

4. See the city

You don't have to fork out for pricey stair-master sessions at the gym. Walking up and down hills in the city (as well as in the country) is a great way to give your heart and lungs, not to mention the muscles in your legs and bottom, a really good, variable-intensity workout.

 

5. Ride into the sunset

Remember how much you loved your bike when you were a child? It was a great way of getting around town and it still is – no petrol, no parking worries, and it gets you fit too. Haven’t got a set of wheels? Look in your local newspaper ads for a second-hand bike. Pump up the tyres, oil the chain, and you're off! Stick to cycle lanes and off-road paths where possible, use your road sense and always wear a helmet.

 

6. Group therapy

Hiring a personal trainer can be a great way to get fit. They don't listen to excuses, they'll encourage and motivate you, and they'll make sure you don't hurt or overstrain yourself. Unfortunately, you pay a price for this one-on-one attention. So why not spread the cost and share a trainer with a group of friends? The rewards and the results are just the same. It's more fun, too.

 

7. Use your body to shape your body

Body-weight exercises are a great way to exercise, and hey, gravity is totally free! Squats, lunges, step-ups, push-ups, tricep dips, pull-ups, crunches, planks and bridges are fantastic tools for losing weight, getting stronger and shaping your body. Create a workout that you can do anytime and anywhere.

 

8. Home-style hand weights

If you don't want to splash out on a set of hand weights, there are other ways to firm those muscles. Try using full 1.5 litre water bottles as your weights for an at-home workout. Or, try using 400g jars and cans which weigh a bit less and can be very effective for working the smaller muscles of the arms, shoulders, back, and chest.

 

9. You make me feel like dancing

Why pay for expensive dance classes when you can dance the night away with friends? It's fun, it's social, and it's a great fat-burning activity.