The question of how to get fit on a budget has interested me for a long time now.
My budget fitness journey started when I hurt my back moving house. Once the prescription painkillers had worn off, I knew I needed help for it to heal properly, but I couldn’t afford a personal trainer or a physio. At about the same time I turned 50 and knew that it was time to try to get fit and toned.
In the past, like many people, I have paid out for expensive gym memberships only to find I could only be bothered to attend a couple of times a month. On that basis, gym membership really isn’t worth it, even if you can afford the monthly fee.
So with a gym membership ruled out, I started working out at home to videos, and eventually Youtube when it became more of a thing.
I should make clear that all injuries are different. I solved my back problem with some strength exercises in the end, but you must ask your doctor before embarking on any exercise routine because you could do more damage than good.
At the time of writing, we are in the thick of the COVID19 pandemic. No one in my country (UK) can leave their houses apart from shopping and short exercise. If we want to keep fit now, the only choice is to do it at home.
I don’t want to knock paid gyms because they provide an essential service and do it very well. But, I can’t help but think gyms are going to suffer in the aftermath of the pandemic when people realize how very possible it is to get fit for free at home.
Youtube immediately springs to mind when you think about home fitness. The great thing about Youtube is that there is so much out there; you could do a different workout every single day without ever having to repeat it.
But there are many more options too. In my post today I am going to take you through all the ways you can get fit on a budget, there really is no excuse.
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Swimming is a gorgeously gentle exercise that can be taken up without much risk of injury. You can swim reasonably cheaply at a local swimming pool. If you are going to be swimming regularly, then a swimming membership might be more cost-effective for you.
Here are some swimming workouts you can do yourself.
Take up a sport
Getting fit can be much more fun when you can do it with others. You hardly know you are actually getting fit.
Here in the UK, netball teams springing up for women who want to rediscover the game from their younger days. There is also a similar group for hockey.
The great thing about a team sport is the huge motivation factor it brings. No one wants to let the team down because they couldn’t be bothered to get off the sofa.
Maybe horse riding was your thing growing up? Why not join a local riding center and get going again?
You can take up running for little cost. Find yourself some decent running shoes, and that’s really all you need. You don’t need to spend money on fancy running clothes.
There are various running apps. Having a running app isn’t actually necessary, but they can help to keep you motivated. My favourites are MapMyRun and Runkeeper. Another one I’ve tried is Couch to 10k.
Have your trainers seen better days? Why not give your trainers a wash instead of buying new ones?
If you already have a bicycle, why not get on it and ride? Instead of taking your car to work, why not cycle instead or put your bike in the car and cycle part way to work?
If you don’t have a bicycle, it can be costly to buy new. I recommend you try to buy second-hand on eBay or your local free ad.
If you prefer a more structured approach and would prefer to stay inside try Zwift.
Like running, all you really need is a good pair of walking shoes. These are the shoes I have currently, and they were comfortable right away.
If you are lucky enough to live in the countryside, walking for pleasure is a no-brainer. We are very fortunate to live on the South Downs in England where the scenery is breathtaking.
If you don’t live in the country, why not try building extra steps into your day? Walk to the railway station instead of taking your car or get off the bus one stop earlier.
Youtube is a fantastic source of free home fitness videos. I’m currently working my way through Fitness Blender’s videos. They have thousands to choose from. I could do a different video every day. A very popular channel right now is Joe Wick’s Body Coach.
You will need some affordable gym trainers, plus might need some dumbells for some of the workouts. These are the weights I have. They are great because you can change the weight very easily. You won’t need to buy separate weights.
I also love Yoga with Adrienne. If you don’t have a yoga mat, use an ordinary cotton towel or a yoga towel which are cheaper than mats but more portable.
Yoga Towel VS Regular Towel – Why They Are Very Different
Buy a video series
Buying a fitness video series is how I started out working out at home. I have a lot of Jillian Michaels’ videos which I thought were brilliant. It was Jillian’s videos that healed my back in the end. Her way of training is not for everyone, because she can be quite ‘shouty’, but it suited me perfectly.
Do your own cleaning
Vigorous house cleaning can be excellent exercise! Do it in 10 minute bursts (vacuuming comes to mind) and you might just get some HIIT training in too.
Get a dog
If you can keep a dog in your home (and you love them too), I thoroughly recommend getting a dog.
Make sure you get one that needs a lot of walking, and there you have fitness and motivation all in one. It is tough to ignore dogs that want a walk!
Puppies can be expensive to buy. You could consider a rescue dog. There are pluses and minuses of both options, and you will need to do some research. Dog rescue centres such as the RSPCA and Dog’s trust, are good at matching up dogs with owners. There are also groups who rescue dogs from abroad.
How to keep motivated
Staying motivated is the most challenging part of keeping fit. If you are exercising to lose weight, then a daily weigh-in can be very encouraging.
Find some friends and keep each other motivated. An accountability group is a great help for everyone.
In team sports, the feeling of not wanting to let other people down can be a powerful motivator.
Have a goal. When we booked a skiing holiday, I wanted to enjoy it. I knew I wouldn’t if I was sore all the time. So I started doing a weight training exercise video to prepare. I was still the last one to get to the bottom of the run, but at least I wasn’t hurting!
I hope I have convinced you that it is indeed very possible to get fit on a budget. It is also very possible to make it fun too, by getting a group of friends involved, or taking up a team sport.
If you don’t have much space in your home for working out, go outside. If you live in the countryside, you have no excuse at all!
Why not mix and match? I suggested swimming at the start of this post, but swimming isn’t necessarily very cheap. If you love swimming, why not allow yourself a few sessions a month and then combine that with something cheaper like running?
The biggest thing is to keep at it. I found the best way to stay consistent was to keep a fixed time in the day for exercise. I set the alarm on my watch, so I don’t forget.