AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

An economy in what seems like a permanent nose-dive, has given rise to the popularity of no-contract gyms. Still, The Guardian’s Rachel Platt suggests that even that budget gym alternative “could end up costing more in the long run. The lower price tag means people are more likely to retain a direct debit for an unused membership, as it’s only a few quid each month.” Another Guardian reporter, Arwa Mahdawl believes that gyms and the consumer culture and status attached to these classes are responsible for a rise in exercise addiction. She says, “since the commercialisation of fitness in the late 1970s, society has gone about commoditising and branding physical activity. It has turned it from an action we do into a product we consume.”

If you take a look at the Official Army Fitness programme that was revealed in a press report, you’ll notice a distinct lack of any equipment at all. Using a simple combination of jogging, press ups, dorsal raises, tricep dips and sit ups the programme “has been developed by the Army Physical Training Corps, and is based on the one that it issues to potential recruits to enable them to pass basic training.” So it seems that a soldier’s physique is not the sole preserve of the financially endowed or modern-day gym-junkie, it’s something you can achieve without the trappings of modern consumer fitness culture. Instead of pouring your hard-earned savings into overpriced gyms and classes, put it in your bank account and improve your financial fitness. After all you can throw all the cash you like at getting in shape, but in the end it’s how much you throw yourself around that matters.

Get Moving

It doesn’t matter what, where or how simply showing devotion to motion will start you off on the right foot. Hopping off the bus a stop early, running errands on your lunch hour or jogging home from work cost nothing and earn credits in terms of activity. Mix up activities that get you out of breath (cardio) with those that make you ache (toning). Climbing a few steep escalators gives as good a result as any Stairmaster.

Local library DVDs

Home shopping channels are littered with glossy Lycra-clad models flogging the latest hardcore workout regimes, conveniently spread over a series of DVDs commanding a tidy little price for the package. The trick lies with the variety circuits one day, bums’n’tums the next. Take the same approach on a shoestring by taking a selection of fitness DVDs out at your local library, switching between them on a daily basis, then exchanging them for a brand new set when the loan period is up.

Outdoor gyms in parks

An increasing number of parks and public spaces are installing The Great Outdoor Gym Co’s weatherproof fitness equipment, perfect for circuit training on your own or with friends. The machines include everything you’d see at a pricey gym, and, although the set-ups are unstaffed, you can download an app for your mobile designed to show you how to get the best results and use the equipment safely and effectively. To locate your nearest outdoor gym, simply type your postcode into the site’s outdoor gym locator.

Inspect a gadget

A little bit of high-tech can be a big help. Although trainers that act as personal trainers and super-accurate wrist monitors might be out of your price range, more and more purse-friendly options are available there’s no fooling even a cheap tracker, and keeping honest tabs on your activity can be a great motivator to get moving. Basic pedometers cost just pennies and will have your fitness levels making great strides. There are also a wealth of free or cheap apps on offer for smartphones, enabling you to do everything from count calorie burn to plan meals.

Socially active in the community

It’s hard to juggle leisure and fitness, so why not combine the two? Local church halls and community centres often offer classes like yoga and zumba for a fraction of the cost of a gym chain. Go with friends, or alone with a view to meeting more people in your area in a less formal setting.

Meet up with mates and try out taster sessions of different disciplines with no cash commitment to completing a full course. If you spend the time you’d usually be shopping, having dinner or going to the cinema getting fit for free with friends instead, you can almost say you’re not just saving money, you’re earning it back!

Keep it simple

Remember that getting fit needn’t require any equipment whatsoever, and certainly not the type that busts your budget before it can fight the flab. Keep in mind that the majority of home fitness equipment ends up just gathering dust and taking up floorspace, and, beyond a decent pair of trainers, flashy clothing won’t make your workout more effective. Use empty bottles filled with rice or water to provide variable resistance and folded towels as floor mats. Hula hoops and skipping ropes are readily available at pound shops and are great for toning and conditioning. Learn-to-run programmes are widely available online as are step-by-step guides to body weight exercises like pull-ups, push-ups and dips.

Government guidance

The NHS’ Change 4 Life’ website offers advice on everything from diet to dance classes, with a strong family focus and an awareness of financial constraints where fitness is concerned. You can join up as an individual or a family to receive reminders, recipes, hints and tips, along with a free welcome pack. Online, browse for local health-focused events to help you follow the site’s motto, Eat well, move more, live longer!’

A lifestyle journalist from London, Kitty Hastings loves to share tips on how readers can balance their budget both inside and outside of the home. Kitty’s articles reflect her genuine desire to help people improve their financial situation and can be seen in a variety of print and online publications.

Categories: General

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