Getting fit and staying fit doesn’t have to cost the earth. In fact, there are many opportunities to exercise for free in your daily life, without stepping into a gym.
From exercising at home to turning everyday activities into a workout, here are 8 ways you can get fit without paying a penny.
How to exercise for free at home
Do a home workout
There are many ways to exercise at home for free. You can:
- use online fitness videos
- make a playlist of your favourite songs and dance to them
- march or run on the spot
- make up a routine that includes exercises such as star jumps, squats, push-ups and lunges
- use tins of soup or beans as hand weights
If you’re new to exercise, start with 10 minutes of your chosen activity and slowly increase the length of your workout.
Activities like digging and shovelling can raise your heart rate and make you sweat. They’re also great for strength training.
Pushing a lawnmower is hard work and counts towards the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity for adults.
There’s a reason why top athletes like to add skipping workouts to their training routines. Just a few minutes of skipping brings a range of health benefits, including heart and lung fitness, strong bones, balance and flexibility.
The average person can burn up to 200 calories by skipping for 15 minutes.
Skipping is a demanding exercise. Start slowly by skipping for 20 to 30 seconds at a time. Break up each burst of activity with 30 seconds of marching on the spot, then repeat. As your fitness improves, increase the time you skip for.
How to get fit for free on the go
Walk or cycle to work
Do you drive or take public transport to work? If so, you’re missing an opportunity to get fit for free. If your workplace is less than a 30-minute walk from your home, why not walk to work at least a few times a week?
Make the walk easier on your feet by wearing your usual work clothes with a comfortable pair of shoes. You can change shoes when you get there.
If work is a little further away, cycle there. It will save you money on petrol or public transport.
Climb the stairs
If you're used to taking the lift or riding on escalators, you’re missing out on a great form of free exercise. Stair climbing burns more calories per minute than jogging and it counts towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.
Taking every opportunity to climb stairs is good for building strong bones, managing your weight and boosting your cardiovascular fitness. As a low-impact exercise, it’s more gentle on your joints than high-impact workouts like running.
Get started by using any stairs you have at home. Climb a flight, go back down and then repeat. Gradually build up the number of times you go up and down the stairs.
Walk your way to fitness
Walking as much as possible can help you lose weight and become healthier. Studies suggest that adding moderate activities like walking into your daily life can help you burn more energy than going to the gym each week.
You can fit walking into your routine by leaving your car at home for short journeys, getting off the bus or train a stop early and going for long walks at the weekends.
Take water, healthy snacks and a spare top with you on long or challenging walks. If long walks become a habit, you may want to buy specialist walking shoes for more challenging routes.
How to get fit for free outdoors
Running is low cost and great for weight loss, heart and lung function, bone strength and your overall wellbeing.
Are you convinced you’re not a runner? You can make running a habit easily. Try the free 9-week running plan Couch to 5K (C25K).
Created for beginners, it will help you build your confidence and running ability. It involves 3 runs a week, with a rest day between each run. You’ll also be given a different plan for every week.
Join or start a sports team
Playing team sports is one of the best ways to get fit for free. If you choose a sport you enjoy, it can be a fun social event that doesn’t feel like a workout.
You don’t have to sign up to an official league, simply gather a group of friends and head to your local park.
If you don’t know many people where you live, visit the park and see if any friendly games of football, cricket or other sports are in action. Choose a group of players who look like they have a similar level of ability to you and ask to join them. It may sound like a bold move, but you'll likely be welcomed.
Why not choose the activity that sounds like a good fit and try it out this week?