06 Jan 2017
So January is here. You probably have grand ambitions that THIS is the year you finally get fit. You woke up filled with regret on New Year’s Day and tried, bleary-eyed, to input your card details onto the website of your local gym. But wait! Before you shell out for a pricey membership you’ll have forgotten about by March, here are our favourite ways to get fit for free…
Had a stressful Christmas and fancy a zen New Year? There are hundreds of channels on YouTube with free yoga videos, and plenty for beginners! Yoga with Adriene is a popular choice, and her 30 Days of Yoga challenge has 30 different videos, varying in length from 15 to 35 minutes. They’re perfect for beginners, and her laid-back, relatable attitude makes her videos not only a great workout, but fun, too!
Always wanted to run but didn’t know where to start? Millions of people swear by Couch to 5K to get them started. Begin by running for just a minute, and build up to running for 30 minutes in just 8 weeks. There are loads of apps available, and the NHS has weekly podcasts available, too.
Once you’ve mastered 5K, why not give parkrun a go? parkrun organise free, timed 5K runs all over the country every Saturday morning. It’s open to everyone – whether you want to run, jog or walk and, as it’s timed, you can try to beat your own time each week! There’s a great community spirit, and you even get a free t-shirt after you’ve completed 50, 100 and 250 runs. Find your nearest parkrun.
We all know taking the dog for a walk is a great way to get fit, but what if you don’t have one? There are lots of services where you can borrow a dog for a day or overnight, including Digs for Dogs and Borrow Pets, or you can pay a small fee to borrow a dog from Borrow my Doggy. Why not ask around to see if any of your friends of family have a pup you can take off their hands for a few hours?!
Don’t want to have to leave the house to get your workout in? No problem! Apps like Nike +Training Club let you strength train in your own home without worrying about making eye contact with the meatheads in the weights room. Only got 5 minutes? Fitnet App has tonnes of free, short workouts if you’re strapped for time.
Don’t have a fancy set of weights? Cans of beans or filled bottles of water are just as good for bicep curls. Your sofa can be used for tricep dips. And you can do pushups almost anywhere!
Most Smartphones these days have a pedometer, so you don’t even need a separate fitness app to keep track of your daily steps. Keep an eye on your steps-per-day and aim to increase it every day, or set yourself a daily step goal. Go for a walk on your lunch break, get off the bus a few stops earlier, or even just walk around your house – every step counts!
Remember when you were a kid and it was easy to get your daily exercise in because you could just grab your mates and have a game of footie at lunchtime? Just because you no longer have aspirations to be the next Beckham, it’s still great fun to have a kickabout in the park. Grab a ball and some mates and don’t forget to celebrate every goal like you’ve won the World Cup.
And we don’t just mean 80s-style aerobics! You don’t need legwarmers to enjoy a good workout DVD, and there are bound to be dozens available at your local library (though some may charge a small fee for borrowing DVDs). They’re a great way to try out something new before you commit to buying. So, is it going to be the 30 Day Shred or Pilates? Davina McCall or Tracy Anderson? You decide!
There’s bound to be one of your fitness-fanatic Facebook friends trying to round everyone up to do one of these every January! These challenges usually start small, for example 10 squats on day one, then build up to 20, 30, 50 etc. so by the end of the challenge you’re busting out 100 squats in one go! Not for the faint-hearted but a good challenge to improve your fitness in just a few minutes a day – and an opportunity to brag to those friends who gave up after day 2! There's loads of inspiration on Pinterest.
It’s been proven over and over again that catching the bus is much better for you than taking the car. Even the walk to the bus stop is undoubtedly further than walking to your car – helping you get more steps in to reach your daily goal! Greener Journeys found that the daily short walk to and from bus stop and destination can burn 22,630 calories a year, with daily bus users clocking up the annual equivalent of 11 marathons. Already a regular bus user? Get off a few stops earlier and walk a bit further to burn a few more calories.
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