14 September 2008

Save Money by Exercising in Your Neighbourhood

Who says you need to join a gym to keep fit and healthy? With fitness centres and gyms springing up at every convenient locale near where you work, shop and dine, it's difficult not to feel curious and enthused about getting your yearly membership to get that striking eye-grabbing body you've always dreamed especially when we're constantly reminded of how we should look. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking down the media-influenced self-esteem drain that 'society' has imposed onto us, but I am saying that you can be trim and taut just by exercising around your neighbourhood or workplace, saving you many hundreds of your hard-earned money each year in gym membership fees.

I've known too many cases of friends and colleagues having joined a gym thinking that the expensive monthly fees would entice them to exercise regularly only to find that the gym owner's bank balance is the only thing getting healthy. If this sounds all too familiar, then seriously consider resigning your membership and signing up to your immediate surrounds to get in shape.

Here are some tips:

1) Going for a walk or run around the neighbourhood or your workplace is so much more stimulating and enjoyable than doing the rounds on the treadmill staring blankly at a TV or some random's behind. Not only is your environment constantly shifting when you're walking or running in a natural environment, but you're also getting fresh air.

2) Rather than going to gym classes, why not join your local sports club playing your favourite team sports for a significantly smaller fee than your gym membership. Not only are you saving money, but you're also getting the opportunity to interact with new people.

3) Look to use the stairs as often as possible when at work rather than the elevator. You'll be incorporating exercise with your day to day activities making it a win-win situation. You'll turn up to your next meeting more energised and perhaps glowing a little.

4) If you're already a regular gym buff, why not invest in purchasing your own gym equipment, secondhand where possible to save you that extra bit of money. It might be a little bit more of an outlay upfront than a gym membership, but over a couple of years, you'd have saved in fees what you'd invested in your own gym equipment.

5) If you're fortunate to live near a large park, why not make use of the running or cycling tracks there? There's likely to be many other locals exercising too, so it's like one big free outdoor gym. You could even take on your mates in a regular game of football in the green open spaces.

6) The same can be said if you live near a beach or bushwalking trails. Get your heart pumping with the resistance of the sand or water, or tackle the taxing terrain to the sounds of wildlife.

7) Have a swim at your local swimming centre. Casual entry is a heck of a lot cheaper than a gym's.

There are many cost saving ways to keep fit or get into shape without a gym or fitness centre in sight. Not only are you saving money by not paying gym membership, but the other benefits of using your neighbourhood as your “gym” including the fresh air, changing surrounds, improved sense of community and the opportunity to socialise also promotes your general wellbeing. Now that sounds like an excellent deal to me.