Five ways to exercise when on a budget

Fitness doesn’t need to cost a fortune – in fact, it can often be free. Here’s a handful of ideas to stay active without spending a cent.

Written by Editor Medibank
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Gym memberships. Expensive gym equipment. Monthly fitness app subscriptions. Fees to play sport. If you feel like exercise costs money, you’re not the only one.

In fact, research shows that in Australia, people often say it’s the expense involved that stops them from doing regular exercise. But the good news is staying active really doesn’t have to involve spending a lot – or anything at all. Here are five ways to stay active for free.

Go for a walk

Among a list of 20 different exercises, activities and sports, it’s walking that’s the most popular physical activity in Australia, and for good reason. As well as being a free workout, walking doesn’t require you to have any special equipment or training. On top of that, the health benefits – both physically and mentally – are impressive. Walking can help improve everything from mood and heart health to how well you sleep at night. For an energy boost, aim to enjoy a walk around your local neighbourhood, park or walking track that lasts at least 30 minutes, most days of the week.

Enjoy more incidental exercise

That’s the type of activity you can do throughout the day simply by making a few different choices. For example, using the stairs rather than taking the lift or escalator; taking regular breaks to stand up and move around when you’re studying; or walking somewhere rather than using public transport or a car. Even if it only involves a minute or two of movement at a time, research shows incidental activity really does improve health and wellbeing. So, create and take as many opportunities as you can, to move this way throughout the day.

Join parkrun

These free, weekly community events take place all around the world, including in Australia, where there are more than 430 events to get involved in. From Sydney to Brisbane, Melbourne to Perth and loads of locations in between, parkrun’s are held every Saturday morning, when a group of people get together for a 5km walk or run in a specific location. People who regularly take part in parkrun say it’s the sense of community and the friendships they make with other park runners (or walkers) that keeps them coming back. To find an event that’s close to you, visit parkrun.

Do some bodyweight exercises

While exercise that makes you huff and puff – like walking quickly or going for a run – is important for fitness, it’s also a good idea to do exercises that build up strength in your muscles. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean joining a gym or investing in an expensive set of weights. You can use your own body weight to perform things like push-ups, squats, and lunges at home or in an open space. Some local parks also have free exercise machine stations available for the community to use.

Participate in free online workouts

If you’re motivated to move by joining a class or being guided through a selection of exercises by an instructor, we’ve got even better news – with Medibank, that doesn’t have to cost money either! With everything from dance classes, stretching, Pilates and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), there is something for everyone. Check out Medibank’s Live Better at Home program, designed to help people stay active and healthy.

Remember, it’s important to consult a medical professional before starting any new exercise, particularly for moderate or intense activity.

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Written by Editor Medibank

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