Recent figures show that we are wasting a staggering £558m per year on unused gym memberships. We have all know what it is like. We start with the best of intentions. We really believe that this time we are going to exercise regularly, and what better place to do that than the gym? However, the reality is most gyms tie you into lengthy and expensive contracts that can be very hard to get out of.
Almost 11% of people surveyed said they hadn’t been to the gym for over a year, and a further 21% had only been three times. It is clear that gym membership is costing us a fortune. It is time to let your guilty secret out of the bag, admit that the gym isn’t working for you, cancel that membership and start to get fit for free.
There is nothing more motivating than a nudge from your phone to get out there and get busy. Many fitness apps are free and will also log your progress, which can also be a fantastic way to keep your fitness goals on track. Some of the best-rated ones include Couch to 5k, which takes you from 0 to 5k in nine weeks and the NHS has loads of free get fit resources, including the Active 10 app.
- Get some friends together and kick a football around. You don’t have to be training for stardom- a half an hour run around the local park will get your heart rate going and burn some calories, as well as socialising at the same time.
- Walking – walking is the ultimate free exercise and has the added benefit of being great for your mental health too. Studies show that even short walks (ten minutes a day) can rapidly improve overall health. It can be even more motivating when it is saving you money.
- Walking some or all of the way to work. Walking the children to school. Walk instead of driving for short journey. Be creative and think of ways you can incorporate walking into your daily life, or you might want to join a walking group in your local area. Find out how here https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/.
- Cycling – ok, you need a bike for this, so not exactly free, but fantastic exercise and a good way to meet people if you join a local cycling group. There are some great tips here https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/cycling-health-benefits/ to get you started.
- YouTube fitness channels. There are some goodies out there, including the rather marvellous Yoga With Adrienne which everyone is talking about.
Taking control of our finances means being acutely aware of when we are paying too much for something or are just not getting value for money. Gym membership may work out to be a cost saving if you use it three or more times a week, but if you are like most people, you are just not using it enough to warrant the expense.
Be out and proud! No more costly gym membership, you can get the same results for free and might even find you have more fun doing it. Finding the exercise you enjoy is the first step to sticking to it. Grinding your way through a gruelling aerobics class might be good for you, but if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t bother going back. Running around the park with your mates might be more fun and, who knows, you might actually start to look forward to it.