Fitness on a budget this winter

As the weather begins to cool it can be easy to avoid exercise. However, there are plenty of options out there that are inexpensive, fun and can double as all important family time.

Healthy body, healthy mind

As we reach the midyear hump, and with many of us suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), exercise can be the perfect antidote. Not only does staying active get your endorphins pumping (thus moderating your mood), it can also boost your brain power. In fact, often the mental health benefits outweigh the physical. The problem of course can be finding the time.

Finding time

Often the biggest thing that hinders us getting out and exercising is that we simply feel that there’s not enough time. Why not, then, kill two birds with one stone. For example, next time you’re considering getting coffee with a friend, why not go for a bike ride, or hit a few rounds of golf? Perhaps you’re meant to be seeing the folks, why not take them for a walk? Even going to the market or to a gallery entails a lot of movement. Moreover, exercising in groups has been shown to yield better results.

Fun for the whole family

Perhaps the biggest struggle some of us face is that all important work-life balance. The result: exercise comes last. It can, however, be fun for the whole family. Involve your kids in some group activity by turning the music up loud and having a daggy dance or get everybody involved in the chores and make it a game.

Keep it incidental

Many of us lead increasingly static, deskbound lives, but there are plenty of simple ways to make your daily grind more active. Why not walk or ride to work? Even public transport usually entails a bit more exercise, or if you do have to drive, park further away to give yourself just those few extra steps. While you’re at work remember to break up your day with little stretches or a short walk. And at home keep in mind active chores and walking the dog also get your heartrate up. These all fall under the category of incidental exercise, it’s inherent in your day, but studies have shown the health implications of increasing it are huge.i

Take it indoors

Often the most daunting thing about going to the gym in the cooler months is just getting there. Don’t let this stop you as there are simple, cheap ways to stay active, many of which don’t even involve leaving the house. Why not try a YouTube search for some yoga or Pilates videos? It’s cheaper than a class, and if you’re new to it, potentially less embarrassing. Simply search “yoga tutorial”, get out the mat, and Chromecast the video to your telly.

Technology is your friend.

There are plenty of free apps to help meet your fitness needs. Here are some of our favourites.

Fitnet. This app is perfect for people who are on the go. It includes a wealth of five and seven-minute targeted workouts, leaving you with more time for family and friends. It even hooks up with your phone’s camera to determine how well you are following the moves on the screen.

Strava is a smart phone app that’s popular with runners and cyclists. It uses GPS to help you plot a route, share/compete with friends, and track your personal best over segments you take on a regular basis.

Calorie Counter by MyFitnessPal is a nutrition and fitness app that’s great for those who have trouble balancing calories in vs calories out. It integrates with a variety of fitness trackers, as well as being a standalone app.

What are you waiting for?

With so many low-cost options out there and Australian winters being relatively mild, now is the perfect chance to get active. So, what are you waiting for? Get that body moving.