Managing your health amid the cost-of-living crisis part 2 – Keeping active on a budget
We know that is important to keep active every day to maintain our health, but some methods of achieving this come with quite a hefty price point. Rather than dropping physical activity entirely, see if these tips can help you keep moving while saving money.
Reconsider your gym membership
Attending the gym is a fantastic way to access a suite of exercise equipment, facilities and classes at a time that your needs. Unfortunately, this convenience comes with quite a high monthly/yearly cost, but there are often changes you can make to bring this cost down. Many gyms and health clubs will have a range of membership types, with options for access time and facilities that you can adjust to suit your needs.
If you find that you use the swimming pool every time you want to exercise, but only use the gym on occasion, consider taking a swim-only membership to bring the cost down. Most people don’t have access to a swimming pool at home, but other exercises can be completed elsewhere, which we’ll touch on a little later. If you are someone that uses gym facilities to play sports such as squash, there might also be a membership option just to access those facilities. Another consideration is the access time of your membership. See if you can attend the gym during off-peak hours, as this will save a significant amount of money compared to an on-peak membership. You might need to make changes to your exercise schedule to make this work, so weigh up the pros and cons before making this change.
If you find that even with these options in mind you are not able to maintain a gym membership that’s okay, we will explore less expensive or even free options next. If you have signed up for a contracted period at a gym, you might not be able to immediately cancel your membership, but another option is to suspend your membership for 3-6 months, which could give you the breathing room to review your budgets at a later date.
Create a home gym
If you are looking to work on an exercise routine, but don’t have access to a facility such as a gym, you might have thought about purchasing equipment to use at home. This is a great option to engage in a workout at a time that suits you, within the comfort of your own home! But much like the gym, certain equipment can be prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend thousands to complete a balanced exercise routine at home.
If you have previous experience of gym equipment, think about which you enjoyed using the most. If you are able to purchase something you enjoy using, you are much more likely to regularly use it. You might even be able to find second-hand equipment near you to save on buying brand new.
If you are short on space, some small items can go a long way to making an effective workout. Resistance bands are small and inexpensive but can really level-up an exercise routine by adding an extra resistance component. Likewise, a small set of dumbbells could also be beneficial. If you have access to a smartphone or computer, you could search online for a home workout video, many of which require little or no equipment, which can make for a great routine to follow.
There are even exercises that you complete using items that are found throughout the house! Consider using cans or bottles of water as weights for lifting, use a dining chair to complete a chair-based exercise routine (you can use our video!) or even complete a few repetitions of climbing up and down the stairs to some upbeat music to keep you going.
Check low-cost options near you
Whether you can’t exercise regularly at home or want to mix up your activity routine, there are also many great options to find in your local area!
If you prefer to exercise as part of a class or group, check online or in the local paper to see if there are any exercise groups open to the public. They are often inexpensive or possibly free and provide a great opportunity to commit to a regular routine and possibly meet new people.
If you enjoy playing sport, you can often find courts near you that are inexpensive or even free in some cases. If you previously had a gym membership to access facilities such as a squash court or swimming pool, you should be able to make a booking for an hour at a local public gym or health club. Accessing these facilities on a pay-as-you-go basis is a good option to manage your finances while still accessing the sports you enjoy.
Of course, there is always the option of heading into the great outdoors for a walk, run or cycle. All you need is some comfortable clothing, supportive shoes, and a bicycle if you prefer to cycle. You can find a local park or route to follow or take yourself further afield for a change of scenery.
We hope that this information can help you continue to enjoy regular physical activity, even if there is a need to reduce your costs. In our final blog of the cost-of-living series, we will consider how to look after our mental health in light of difficult circumstances, like the time we presently face.
Read part 1 here.