09 July 2014

Get fit for free

With a packed summer of sport to enjoy, many people will be inspired to pull on their athletic gear and get active. Here are some other free ways to boost your fitness levels.

1. Cleaning

Ok, its not spring any more, but vigorous scrubbing, sweeping, lifting and polishing will soon burn off those calories – and you’ll end up with a sparkling-clean house too.

2. Kickabout

World Cup fever has swept the nation; why not get in on the act and take the kids to the local park or playground to practise some dribbling skills? You could even rope in other families and friends to take part in an informal five-a-side competition.

3. Get out in the garden

Weeding, mowing, digging and planting is pretty physical work, but people of all ages can enjoy some form of gardening. You could also join a green gym, where you can work up a sweat while helping to protect the environment. It’s a great outdoor alternative to pumping iron in a real gym.

4. Dance around the house

Dancing is one of the most enjoyable ways to get fit. Put on some of your favourite upbeat music and bust some moves in the comfort of your own home. There’s no need to be embarrassed if no one’s watching you…

5. Enjoy a brisk walk

Walk to the shops instead of taking the car if you can, and a long walk in the fresh air, out in the country or at the seaside, is an invigorating treat. You can find lots of inspiration and free walks on the Walking for Health (This link will open in a new window) (This link will open in a new window) (This link will open in a new window) (This link will open in a new window) website.

6. Access free sports facilities

Many leisure centres offer free swimming lessons and other sports sessions at certain times of the week, so check with your council on what’s available in your area. Another option is Tennis for Free (This link will open in a new window) (This link will open in a new window) (This link will open in a new window) (This link will open in a new window) (This link will open in a new window), which offers no-pay lessons at a number of courts around the country.

7. Cycle to work

Cycling is another great way to get in shape as it boosts your cardiovascular fitness. Not only that, it’ll save you money on petrol or public transport costs. Many companies have Cycle to Work schemes to encourage their employees to get fit.

8. Take the stairs

Some people are so lazy they can’t be bothered to walk up a few steps, but that’s not you, is it? At work or when out shopping, ditch the lift and escalator in favour of the stairs. If you do this enough times, you’ll improve your fitness without even realising it.

9. Work out with a free personal trainer

The NHS Strength and Flexibility Plan (This link will open in a new window) lets you download podcasts where a virtual trainer guides you through a series of equipment-free exercises, which are designed for people who aren’t very active. The five 35 to 45-minute podcasts can be downloaded to the device of your choosing.

10. Work out while watching TV

Don’t be a couch potato while watching TV. Make the most of the ad breaks or boring bits by doing short bursts of exercise. Squats will tone your legs and buttocks, and leg lifts will build up strength in your thighs and calves. See how many push-ups you can do during a commercial, and set yourself new targets each week.

Once you’ve done all these you can reward yourself with an ice-cream!

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