Forget the gym: five ways to get fit for free

Woman on a race track

 Running is one of the most affordable ways to get fit. Photograph: Stocksy

If getting fit is up there on your 2019 to-do list, then you may be tempted to stump up the cash for a pricey gym membership. Instead, why not explore the fitness workouts you can do for free?

When it comes to getting fit, Louise Parker, author of Louise Parker: The 6 Week Programme (£20, Mitchell Beazley) and founder of the Louise Parker Method, believes the route to success is consistency, so, whether or not you’re paying for your workout, bear that in mind. “Stick to a routine, even if the time varies,” says Parker. “I get home, tend to the kids and then it’s yoga mat out for a quick cardio workout and job done. It’s not severe or gruelling, so I never dread it. It’s consistent and so it works.”

Luke Worthington, human movement and elite performance specialist, agrees: “As a trainer, one of the most common questions I get asked is: ‘What’s the best programme for *insert goal here*?’ The answer, almost always, is the one that you will stick to. Adherence and consistency (and, therefore, motivation) are the most important considerations when embarking on an exercise regime.”

Below are five free workout ideas. All you need to do is commit, workout, then repeat.

Run free

Running is one of the most affordable ways to get fit. To start with, you really don’t need a lot of expensive kit; a pair of running shoes – and, for women, a sports bra – is all you need to get started. If you’re totally new to running, try downloading the C25K 5K Trainer app (iTunes or Android, free), which will get you running the distance in just eight weeks. Once you’ve mastered a 5k, why not seek out your local Parkrun? The free Saturday morning race is timed, so you can keep track of your progress week after week.

Take a hike

If you live near the countryside, or you fancy heading off for an active break, then why not seek out the UK’s best hiking routes? Walking is a low-impact exercise – you’re less likely to get injured from a jaunt across the countryside than doing something more intense. You’ll be burning calories and working those muscles, all the while distracted by the scenic views. Head to nationaltrail.co.uk/the-trailsto discover some of the best walking routes our country has to offer.

Rethink the gym

We all know that gym memberships can cost an arm and a leg, and while there are now more affordable options that don’t tie you in, they still involve a monthly outlay. Our Parks offers free workouts, from boxfit and boot camps to yoga and Zumba, in parks up and down the country. Simply set up an online account and book a class near you.

If you like the idea of being outside, but you’re not a fan of workout classes, then Green Gym could be for you. It’s a charity organisation that gets volunteers gardening their way to fitness. Each session involves a warm-up and cool down, but the bulk of the “workout” is gardening.

Bring the class to you

Fitness Blender is a website devoted to free workouts of varying lengths and for different abilities – choose from barre, cardio and strength training, plus many more. It’s this decade’s answer to the workout DVD.

If you travel a lot and want to exercise on the go, then download the Nike Training Club app (iTunes and Android, free); it’s essentially like having Nike’s best trainers and athletes – such as Serena Williams and Cristiano Ronaldo – in your pocket. It boasts more than 100 workouts, including core strength, abs and arms, and glute toner.

Don’t think you have the willpower or motivation to work out at home? Anna Samuels, boxing trainer and the BoxxMethod co-founder suggests treating your at-home workout like you would a gym class or personal training session. “Book out time in your diary to do it, otherwise there is always the risk of putting it off until later. With the right mindset and planning, you will find the motivation to start, and with consistency it will become a habit.”

Dance like no one’s watching

OK, this is slightly unusual, but ecstatic dance – where you move to music in any way you please – frees you from confusing routines so you can lose yourself in the rhythm. You don’t need to head to a pricey class; instead, load up Spotify or iTunes with your favourite, energy-boosting tunes and dance like no one’s watching. The benefits? It’s free, it burns calories and can even relieve stress. Try it if dancing’s your thing.

[“source=theguardian”]