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How to get fit on a budget

Posted 28 May 2016

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Our top budget-friendly fitness tips.

If you’re strapped for cash at the minute and fed up of watching your friends go to expensive gyms, you might be feeling like the world of great fitness is closed off to you. Well, think again. Getting fit doesn’t have to hurt your purse, and we’ve got some great ideas to inspire you on your getting fit, budget-friendly journey. 

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Before we get started, we’d just like to say that if you’re not used to exercising it’s probably best to start off easy and build the difficulty up over time. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, or you’re pregnant, check with your doctor before you start a new exercise routine. 


1. Go for a run. Why not get out there and experience the feeling of freedom and satisfaction of a good run? It’s completely free, and you might even discover a lovely scenic route in your area you didn’t know about before. 


2. YouTube. This really is one of the best ways, not only to get fit, but to learn how to do anything for free! You can take your pick from dance-inspired workouts, to yoga, Pilates and more traditional rep workouts – whatever you want YouTube has got it – and for free. Another plus for some people is that they get to follow a video in the comfort of their own home. Just make sure you clear the area first so you have room to move freely, you don’t want to have to fork out for a new vase!


3. Join a sports club. This is a great way to keep fit and the fact you’re playing a competitive sport means you sometimes forget you’re exercising at all. See whether there’s a local sports team you can join. Or there might be a team organised by someone you work with. If there isn’t see whether you could get a few people together after work, or for a couple of hours at the weekend. 


With this idea you might have to spend a little on kit or equipment, but the ongoing costs should be relatively low and in most cases it should work out cheaper than joining the gym. 


4. Fitness apps. Smartphones mean that, nowadays, there’s pretty much an app for everything and fitness is no exception. 

You can get an app that will deliver the best workout for your needs based on what you enjoy and how much time you have. Or one that creates 5-7 minute targeted workouts, if you’re strapped for time as well as money. You can find these and the other best health and fitness apps of 2016 here

A really great fitness app can make you feel like you’ve got a personal trainer on your phone – so get downloading! 


5. Use free facilities. Lots of councils have free facilities that you can use, like a field for a football or rugby pitch, or free tennis courts. Why not get in touch with your council and see what’s available? 


6. Get a deal on the gym. This is going to be the most expensive option, but if you’re determined to join a gym, we’d encourage you to get the best deal you can. Not many people know this, but it’s fine to haggle for your gym membership. The best time to haggle is at the end of the year. The gym might have end of year targets they want to hit and will therefore be more likely to give you a lower price just to sign you up. 

You could also try a few free trials at different gyms. This way you get lots of free working out, and you’ll make sure you pick the right gym for you. 

We all know the importance of regular exercise. It can lower your risk of major diseases, like type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Exercise can also improve your mental state, helping you to feel less stressed and improve your outlook on life. On top of that, it’s great to learn that something so good for us doesn’t have to cost the earth. 

We’ve lots more money saving ideas, from food shopping to days out, so make sure you check out the rest of our money saving section. 



by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.