According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2016, fitness and gym activities were the second most participated type of sport and recreation by Australians. And in 2014, the approximately four million Australians participating spent $8.5 billion on fitness and its associated costs—that’s an average of $2000 a person! The question worth pondering is whether it is necessary to spend that much in order to keep fit?
I say no. In fact, I know a lot of people who pay for a gym membership to have access to its equipment and classes, but barely get there eight times a year! Keeping fit is less about how much you spend and more about being absolutely certain why it’s a must for you, and then finding ways to be active that you enjoy.
Here’s a breakdown of how you can keep fit depending on your budget.
You already have the tool you need to keep fit: your body! Done effectively, using your body weight and incorporating strength, cardio and flexibility exercises into a routine can be all you need. In addition, your home or a nearby park can provide free “equipment” too. For example, you can use cans of beans as makeshift weights, stairs for step-ups or stair runs, or lift a pile of books (big ones are best).
Using body weight exercises requires you to push yourself in order to get results. This can be achieved by doing higher amounts of repetitions per exercises, and/or using interval training (for example, 30 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest).
Setting yourself up with some basic fitness equipment at home can be cost-effective and take your fitness to a new level. My suggestion for equipment would be: two sets of dumbbells or kettlebells (a lighter set for arm exercises and a heavier set for leg exercises), a resistance band, a foam roller and a chin-up bar. All of these are available from Kmart and Aldi also occasionally has fitness equipment for really affordable prices.
If you are going to pay money for fitness services, I strongly suggest paying for group or one-on-one training, as you will get much more than just access to equipment. You’ll get accountability, support, motivation and personalised care, and most of all, the results you are after.
The take-home message is you can keep fit on a budget. Get creative with your workouts and if you can, invest in some basic equipment for your home and you’re all set to go.
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