With gyms across the UK remaining closed and many of us seeking to do something constructive with our time at home, we’ve been looking at ways to stay active during the lockdown period. So, whether you are a gym bunny or an absolute beginner looking to make small improvements to your health, there are lots of ways to keep fit that doesn’t involve costly gym membership fees.
Here’s our pick of the best ways to keep fit and stay healthy for free:
Increase your steps
It may sound obvious, but simply walking to the local shop instead of driving, taking the stairs rather than the lift or even using the upstairs loo instead of the one downstairs, will all contribute to increasing your step count.
By walking the recommended 10,000 steps a day, you’ll burn roughly 500 calories, which adds up to 3,500 calories a week, or enough to lose 1lb of body fat. So, if like many of us, your healthy eating habits have slipped during lockdown, then a daily walk will help to beat the bulge!
Dance like no one is watching you
If the thought of tackling the housework fills you with dread, put on your favourite tunes and dance your way through it.
You’ll get the vacuuming done in no time and also get a workout at the same time. The average person burns 100 calories an hour doing housework, which means you’ll get fit and have a spotless home as well.
Everything is more fun when you are bopping along to some killer tunes – even cleaning the bathroom.
Break it down
NHS guidelines recommend that adults should aim to be active every day, with at least 150 minutes of exercise or physical activity each week to remain healthy.
But if you are a beginner or feel that 30 minutes in one go sounds overwhelming, then break down your activity into two fifteen-minute slots instead. They will be just as effective, and you’ll often find yourself doing more than your allocated slot. It’s a great way for beginners to build their fitness levels and make you feel more energised.
Work out whilst working
Lack of time is a common excuse for maintaining a regular exercise routine. Many of us work long hours which means physical activity often falls by the wayside. It will come as no surprise to hear that there’s a strong correlation between sitting down at a desk all day and an unhealthy lifestyle.
One way to stay physically active is to invest in a standing desk. You can work productively, improve your posture and strengthen your legs – all whilst being paid to do your day job.
Ikea have a simple and affordable range of standing desks, many of which are adjustable so you can switch between sitting and standing throughout the day.
Don’t want to spend the cash on a new desk? Simply set yourself a goal of standing up and walking round the office every time you are on the phone. All these small steps add up to your daily target and means you are moving more.
Bicep-busting baked bean cans
Home gym equipment can be expensive, but there are alternatives you can use from your kitchen cupboards that can give you a workout. Tins of beans make great dumbbells for working out your upper arms – or if you are more experienced, use them to do deadlifts and work your hamstrings, glutes and biceps.
It’s not just canned food that can be used either. We make think of our sofa as the ultimate in comfort and laziness, but it can also be utilised as the ultimate workout bench and used for step-ups, tricep dips and sit-ups.
You can even put all those horded toilet rolls to use by stacking them up and using them as mini hurdles!
Take part in free workout videos
YouTube is a great source for free workout classes. There are videos designed for all fitness levels – even the little ones can get involved with Joe Wicks daily PE lessons, whilst more advanced classes are available for those who desire a more demanding workout.
Whatever level you are at, these routines provide the flexibility to work around your schedule and you can do them from your living room without needing any equipment.
The two-wheeled workout
Did you know that regular cycling can minimise your risk of long-term illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes? Now is the time to dig that bike out of the shed and get cycling.
As we start to move out of lockdown, the humble bike can be used as a mode of transport to get to work, to school or to the shops. Not only will you benefit from feeling healthier – but your bank balance will thank you as well as you’ll be spending less on filling up your car.
Couch to 5K
The Couch to 5K running plan is designed for total beginners and involves 3 runs a week, with a day of rest between each run. The aim of the plan is to have participants running 5k within 9 weeks of starting the regime. It was designed by a runner named Josh Clark, who wanted to get his mum off the couch and involved with running.
It’s free to download the app and you can choose a celebrity coach to cheer you on. Select from Jo Whiley, Sanjeev Kohli, Sarah Millican or Michael Johnson and discover an easy and free way to improve your physical health.