8 ways to work out your body without your wallet.
By Amy Crawford
Local gym membership: $20 a week. Personal training, $60 per hour. Yoga classes, $20 per day. When did it become so socially 'normal' for us to spend thousands of dollars on fitness every year?
Now, know that I am NOT saying that gym memberships and yoga/pilates classes don't come with their benefits, for some they are a pertinent part of a recovery process and indeed a valuable entry into the world of exercise full stop. For others a class is a sense of commitment that helps ensure the exercise actually gets done. However I do feel there's a point where some of this spend becomes wasteful - many of us can report of money wasted on memberships we just didn't use, yes?
I guess what I'd love to inspire in this community is the notion of exercising for FREE, to encourage you to walk out the front door (or even remain in your living room) and move your body, without spending a cent. There are just so many amazing options out there to stay fit without the dramatic outlay - and in most cases, with a lot more fun and socialising involved.
If you change the way you think about fitness, you can achieve incredible results without spending a single dollar. Here are 8 ways to workout for free that you can start doing as early as today.
1. Yoga at home (or in the park!)
There are all sorts of aerobic workout DVDs and free online videos out there to get your heart rate up outside the gym. Yoga is one of them. You can workout for free at home by learning yoga - it takes considerably less time, which allows you to practice more often than your wallet allows and be more inclined to keep up a regular practice. All you need is a screen, some floor space, and a mat. Once you've nailed your sequence you and your mat can head to the park (for free).
2. Go running
When done correctly, running is one of the most efficient ways of burning calories and fat. While running can feel like the hardest thing in the world when you start, if you stick with it you’ll improve fast. Paired with a healthy diet, your waistline will also thank you. On top of that, running releases multiple euphoric chemicals inside your brain, giving you what is known as the ‘runner’s high’. Go get out in nature, find your favourite track and breath in the fresh air!
3. Replace your car or bus/train/tram stop with walking
Anytime you need to get from A to B with public transport, walk past a stop or two before you jump on and get off a few blocks early. While it might take a little longer, it will refresh, revitalise and enhance your mood.
If you normally take your car to the cafe round the corner, leave a little bit earlier and increase your blood flow with a short walk instead. Just make sure you’re not roaming around in dangerous areas or during a thunderstorm - in those cases I’d recommend you reach for the keys!
4. Go for bike rides
Ride to your local cafe. Ride to do your shopping. Ride to your friends house. Ride to work, or just ride to enjoy the sunshine (if it’s showing itself!). After the bike cost, riding is completely free and a way more breathtaking and fun way to burn calories than stationary bikes at the gym.
5. Bodyweight exercises
Your own body carries enough weight to make for some very effective workouts. Movements like push ups, most sit-ups, planks, triceps dips and others can be performed using self-produced resistance, eliminating the need for expensive equipment.
There are plenty of bodyweight-only workouts available online that require none other than your body and everyday items around the house - like walls, chairs and tables. They also require more core strength so you get the added benefit of working your abs and balance too!
6. Cross-train outside with your friends
We work harder when we have someone to keep us accountable. It makes it that little bit harder to stop mid-exercise and reach for the treats for emotional support - which is why it works so well.
Local parks and schools (outside of school times of course) are great places to train with friends because they often have a playground, or a collection of trees, benches, stairs and other things you can involve in a fun and varied workout. Grab a bunch of people and challenge the group with your own self-made circuits using natural equipment.
7. Use your local sports facilities
Most communities have a number of facilities available for public use, like tennis courts, basketball courts, and swimming pools. They provide a much richer, fun and social way to boost your cardio fitness than staring at a blank wall in an uninspiring, sweat-smelling gym. Involve the whole family or a bunch of friends, and turn it into an afternoon with a picnic or mini tournament to bring out your competitive side.
8. Explore the beauty of your local area
There’s nothing quite like breathing in the crisp mountain air as you’re hiking along a trail through the mountains, or feeling the sea breeze against your cheek on a morning beach walk.
Drag your dog along (like he'd even need dragging), replace your cafe catch ups with keep cups and a local stroll, and go explore the world around you on foot. You’ll find a new appreciation for your local area, build your cardio fitness and feel more grounded and connected with your body - everything we at The Holistic Ingredient are all about!
So whatcha reckon? Could you cut back on some of your exercise expenditure and start moving for free? Or do you believe there's a place for this expenditure these days? Let me know what you think!