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

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.

Two women walking to exercise

Want to save $200 on your premium? Start taking steps today.

Whether it’s carving out time for exercise or trying to squeeze in an extra serve of veg per day, looking after your health and wellbeing takes dedication. That's why eligible Medibank members with hospital and/or extras cover* who have signed up to Live Better rewards could save $200 on their premium by completing everyday healthy actions and redeeming 25,000 Live Better rewards points^.

Written by Editor Medibank

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* Must be 16 years or over to register for Medibank Live Better. Some program partners and earning activities require a person to be at least 18 years of age to be eligible to earn and/or redeem a reward. Must be a Medibank member with hospital cover, extras cover, or hospital and extras cover, be up-to-date with premium payments and have signed up to Medibank Live Better with My Medibank to earn Live Better points for eligible purchases and redeem rewards. Excludes Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), Ambulance only cover, ahm covers and other selected covers. Rewards are subject to change without prior notice and are subject to availability. Live Better Management Pty Ltd, ACN 003 457 289 has entered into commercial arrangements with Medibank Live Better program partners and may receive commissions. Additional terms and conditions may apply to the redemption of a reward depending on the type of reward chosen. See full Medibank Live Better rewards terms.

^ Medibank Live Better Challenges & Goals Earning Policy:  The participant of a Medibank Live Better Challenge or Goal may not receive Live Better rewards points or may have their already credited Live Better rewards points reversed in accordance with the Medibank Live Better  terms and conditions. To earn Live Better rewards points, the participant needs to properly complete 100% of the eligible Challenge according to the instructions. Goals is subject to change without prior notice. The maximum number of Live Better rewards points The number of Live Better points available for Medibank Live Better Challenges and that each Medibank Live Better member can earn from successfully completing health and wellbeing Challenges, Goals or any Onboarding action in a calendar year is 40,000 Live Better rewards points. To the extent of any inconsistency between this Policy and the Medibank Live Better terms and conditions, the terms and conditions will take precedence.

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