Cheap and time-effective alternatives to the gym

Save on those pricy membership fees!

Written by Ekaterina Tikhoniouk


In the first months of the New Year, some of us might be remembering that fervent New Year's resolution to exercise three times a week, a resolution that was made while gluttonously finishing our second dessert on Christmas day, while others may be deciding to be a bit more healthy in the coming year. Some of us may have bought new runners, or jogging gear, or may be considering getting or renewing a gym membership.

But are gym memberships strictly necessary if you want to get more active, or can there be other ways to exercise effectively without having to travel twice a week to a special room where you get to exercise to music alongside a load of sweaty strangers?

One problem I found a few years ago with going to the gym to exercise was that it was hard to schedule an evening for the gym. Or other evenings I had another event on later and didn't quite have the motivation to devote a few hours to running out of work with my gear bag, cycling the two kilometres to the gym, changing, exercising furiously, then showering, changing back and belting back home to make it to whatever social event was on. And especially after a hectic day at the internship, that schedule seemed even more daunting and discouraging. Instead I often brought my gearbag right home and watched a few episodes of South Park before going to visit friends. Needless to say, I did not renew my membership after that initial month's trial period.

But what was very positive about the gym was that it offered various fitness classes such as aerobics, spinning or DanceFit. I found ways around that too, from taking bellydance classes once a week in a dance studio, to dancing along to bellydance or aerobics tutorials on Youtube in the privacy of my room. But if you lack the floorspace for these types of exercises, things such as Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga are great as they require little equipment or floor space to practise.

Another great option is to invest in a skipping rope, as a 10 minute break of skipping between hours of essay-writing or studying (or watching episodes of The Big Bang Theory!) can be a great way to add a bit more exercise to your daily routine. Web workouts such as Dailyburn, exercise DVDs and apps such as Fitblok could also be considered.

And don't forget about the time-tested option of going for a jog outside!

So whether you don't have the funds to join the gym, or are feeling like you might not have the time to devote to it, there are many ways in which you can sneak in a few minutes exercise into your schedule every day.

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