If you enjoyed the Olympics this summer or were simply in awe of, for example, Jessica Ennis’s toned stomach you may be contemplating joining a gym and really working at getting fit over the winter period. Before you make a spur-of-the-moment decision it can be beneficial to consider your options and decide whether this is the right choice for you.
Gym memberships can really work for those who make the best use of them, but they can also be extremely costly and many people lavishly squander huge amounts of money in the hope that a membership might spur them on to attain their desired level of fitness. Then after several weeks or months commitment levels can wane and sessions are missed. In order for a gym membership to be worth the price it is necessary to be fully committed to a weekly routine, and regularly use the facilities. A survey of 3000 adults revealed that nearly 500 a year is wasted on unused gym memberships and equipment.
Exercising need not be such an expensive endeavour. Joining the gym seems to be largely accepted as an effective and convenient way of staying in shape, but there are many affordable alternatives available. The key is to dedicate a certain level of exercise for the body, accompanied by a nutrient-rich diet. Also, certain workout supplements can be taken to boost results in terms of weight loss, muscle growth, improvement in vitality, and an increase in strength – all without having to go to a gym. Perhaps consider trying out these activities as they could help save you some hard-earned money:
- Jogging/Running at your local park
Jogging or running in your local area will cost you nothing but a decent pair of running shoes and is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Take an iPod and listen to your favourite motivational songs or better yet go running with a friend.
- Go for a walk
Going for a walk costs nothing and is one of the easiest forms of exercise to try. You can make it more enjoyable by taking the dog along or even begin a walking group with your friends and start planning your favourite routes.
- Hire gym equipment
Instead of signing up for a costly gym membership, it would be wise to hire gym equipment. This way, you can choose how many days you want to use the equipment and get the same fitness benefits without having to pay the gym fees. To get the appropriate gym equipment, you can consult a company that offers treadmills, exercise bikes, and cross trainer hire services.
Got somewhere to be? Try cycling instead of taking the car or travelling by public transport. It is also a good alternative to jogging, an excellent form of cardio exercise, and is good for toning your calf and thigh muscles. Aside from the fact that it will help you cover longer distances than simply jogging, you would also be able to build stamina in a less intensive way. Similar to how there is a low heart rate in athletes while competing due to regular practice, cycling could help develop the cardiovascular strength and endurance necessary to function optimally at higher levels of physical exertion.
Now, if you already own a bike then there’s no added cost; if not you can purchase a second-hand bike for a reasonable price, and certainly less than the cost of a gym membership. It will also save you petrol money and/or travel fare costs.
- Exercise DVD
If you aren’t sure whether exercise classes are for you or you just want to cut down on costs you could purchase an Exercise DVD and try out some of the moves in your living room.
- Dance Classes
Attending a regular dance class is cheaper than paying for a gym membership, and is a sociable and creatively satisfying form of exercise. There is no need to be an expert dancer either with classes available for all levels and with many styles to choose from. It is an aerobic form of exercise which will also improve your coordination and balance skills.
Remember: Injuries do occur when exercising. It is important to always warm up before exercise and start off slow if you have been inactive for a length of time, to avoid strain injury.