Get fit for free

Gym memberships, personal trainers, expensive equipment – getting fit has started to feel expensive. Are these costs necessary? Moneybags looks at how you can stay fit and active without paying a cent.

Fun ideas

1. Create a workout group. Research online for a full body training programme, and meet your group twice a week at the local park. The group energy will keep you going and motivate you not to miss a session. Define your individual goals and motivate each other to reach them.

2. Start a workout DVD club where you can swap and exchange exercise DVDs with friends.

3. Organise a sports group or league in your area. Whether it’s football, squash or tennis, get a few enthusiasts together and start a weekly meet. Alternatively, join a league in your area.

4. Start a running or walking club, or join a free one which already exists. Try Walk/ Run for Life on 0861 00 55 66.

5. Go hiking. Living in South Africa, we are blessed to have some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world.

Free Equipment and Training Ideas

1. You can find tons of short exercise videos on YouTube – anything from aerobics to Pilates to resistance training. Use them.

2. Yogajournal.com offers free 20 minute Yoga class downloads, as well as a variety of postures and sound advice. You can even create your own sequences using their web tools.

3. If you don’t already have weights at home, use tins and bottles of water instead. A full 2l bottle of water weighs just under 2kg. Go here for a great training routine.

4. It’s amazing what the jungle gym at the park can do for your fitness levels. Use the bars for monkey-walking, inversions, pull ups and obstacle courses. These videos should get you started with some cool ideas. For something tough and challenging, try this, or watch this routine to get you inspired.

5. Borrow your kid’s skipping rope and skip for 3 minute intervals, working up to 10 sets.

Vouchers

1. Planet Fitness is offering all Moneybags’ users a free voucher booklet, filled with an exciting variety of classes. They’re also giving away discounts on memberships to as part of our launch campaign. Click here to view some of their awesome deals.

2. Virgin Active offers one free trial session, so if you’re up for a gym class, cash in on that. Make sure you arrive with your ID book.

3. Zone Fitness in Cape Town offers a complimentary day voucher. Call (021) 4222 909 for more information.

Training Tips

1. Walk uphill. Then walk backwards uphill. Yes, you’ll look a peculiar, but you’ll also be working on all the main muscle groups in your legs.

2. Run up and down the stairs, or use 2 steps to alternate on for 1 minute intervals. Rotate with squats, crunches or leg lifts.

3. Whenever you can, squat. Place your feet hip distance apart, bend your knees and send your hips backwards as if you’re about to sit on a chair. Make sure your weight is in your heels and not the balls of your feet – lifting your toes is an effective way to correctly distribute your body weight. Hold the squat position for 2 breaths, and then squeeze your butt as you come up. Do this in the morning, at lunch time and before bed. Start off with 2 sets of 15 squats, and work it up to 3 sets of 20.

4. Use a chair at home for arm dips and do push-ups against the walls to work into your back. Make sure you keep your tummy engaged and your back straight. Do 3 sets of 15, mixing the sets up with step running or crunches.

5. If you don’t have time for jogging or walking, there’s still hope. You can do your own interval training by sprinting for a minute, and then walking to cool down. 10 reps will be enough to get your metabolism stimulated and your heart rate going.

If the cost-free fitness route is not for you, take a look at our Gym membership guide.

Small Changes Make a Big Difference

1. Clean your house until it’s spotless. Not only are you getting things done, but you’re burning calories, too.

2. Do some gardening: digging, sweeping, raking and pruning all get the heart rate up, stretch you out and provides a gentle, full body workout.

3. Do lunges whilst brushing your teeth. It’ll keep you brushing for longer, and tone your butt at the same time.

4. Walk as much as possible. This means taking the stairs instead of the lift and parking further away from the entrance than you usually do. The trick is to power walk – squeezing your butt tight and walking as fast as you can. Try this technique when grocery shopping. It’ll prevent the dawdling that leads to impulse buys and get your heart rate up at the same time.

5. Dance! Alone in your room with the music loud, or out at a club. Who cares where you do it? Dancing is an excellent workout and instantly lifts your spirits.

6. Go for a 20 minute run first thing every morning, before you have time to dissuade yourself otherwise.

7. When you’re watching TV, commit to doing push-ups or sit-ups during the ad break.

8. Another shopping trick: carry a basket instead of a trolley. You’ll tone up your arms and minimize on purchases.

9. Hold your tummy in. All the time. It’s great for your posture and keeps your core strong.

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