Table of Contents Hide
- Sprint on sand dunes
- Hill racing
- Jog around the block
- Get your own makeshift equipment for home workouts
- The infamous burpee
- Bodyweight exercises
- Free park equipment
- Start or join a walking group
- Find a free outdoor boot camp
- Grab a soccer or rugby ball and some friends
- Backyard sports
- Mow the lawn and garden
- Go upstairs
- Go for a bush walk
The cost of living has increased by 7.7% in one year. Kiwis are finding creative ways to save costs. But is it possible to reduce the cost of a gym membership while still feeling fit and healthy?
From brutal workouts in the sand to relaxing yoga, here are 15 ways to stay fit and build strength for free.
Sprint on sand dunes
There is something about running on soft sand dunes that will bring even the fittest to their knees. All you need is a beach and the willingness to go somewhere dark for a severe burn on your legs and lungs.
And it’s completely adaptable to fitness levels. Beginners can walk and elite level athletes can perform multiple sprints.
No need to stress if you don’t have a beach nearby, you can find a similar burn with a hill and a pair of running shoes to get a great cardio and leg workout.
There’s a reason athletes sprint uphill, said Auckland-based personal trainer Nick Williams. They work.
Run as fast as you can from your fitness level, use the return walk as a rest, and repeat as needed.
Jog around the block
One of the simplest forms of free exercise requires no travel or equipment for a cardio workout as tough as you want it to be.
If you’re not an experienced runner, Williams recommends a progressive program that builds the distance and time it takes to run that distance.
There’s plenty of running advice available online, she says, and beginners can get apps like Couch to 5K that will help them form a running habit.
Get your own makeshift equipment for home workouts
With a little Kiwi creativity and ingenuity, there are ways to get your own home workout equipment for free or very cheap. Keep an eye on Facebook community groups or the Marketplace for deals on thrifty (or free) gear.
Big old tires, if you get someone to get rid of them, can be great cardio and strength equipment. Want to add weight to a bodyweight workout? Grab a heavy object and hold it for squats or wear a backpack on a hike.
All you need for a yoga session at home is some space and, if you have one, a yoga mat.
If you don’t know where to start, YouTube has plenty of free tutorials, or try yoga apps. Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube is a favorite Things journalist and yoga enthusiast, Lyric Waiwiri-Smith.
The infamous burpee
It’s the exercise we all love to hate, but the military’s and CrossFit’s favorite works cardio and strength and requires no money or equipment.
You can add them to a circuit, make a group in one fell swoop, or distribute them throughout the day.
Bodyweight exercises, Williams says, build strength and endurance and can be done anywhere with no equipment and in a small space.
From push-ups to sit-ups and squats or lunges, using your body weight for resistance is an easy (not easy) way to maintain fitness and strength.
You can find many programs online (like Hybrid Strength or Onnit) that will walk you through exercises, rep schemes, and durations.
Free park equipment
Circuit setups can be an easy way to add some variety to your fitness routine and keep moving.
From pull-up bars to monkey bars and core strength machines, the equipment is usually pretty basic, Williams says, but if your goal is to move regularly and mix it up, it’s a great piece of kit to use.
The various stations have instructions and some will have a QR code with more information attached.
Start or join a walking group
If you’re someone who thrives on the responsibility and friendship gained through group sessions at the gym, social walk groups can be great.
Check your local Facebook community page for a nearby walking or running group. If you can’t find one, invite the locals and make your own.
Find a free outdoor boot camp
Speaking of community Facebook pages, they can be a great source for free (or very cheap) boot camps in your area.
Finding one might take some luck and they’re often more of a summer thing, but keep an eye out or ask on the local community pages if anyone runs one.
Grab a soccer or rugby ball and some friends
Fitness doesn’t need to be regimented or follow a rigid routine to be effective.
If you have a ball, enough teammates and a pitch, get down to a game for an hour.
A full-size football game not your thing? Take a cricket ball or set outside, play badminton in the garden or even grab a tennis ball for an old school handball game against the back wall.
Mow the lawn and garden
You might not do it every week and it might not seem like the most enjoyable exercise, but getting out in the garden to cut the grass and a few hours of weeding can be both great exercise and a healthy dose of vitamin D.
There’s a reason people go to the gym to spend an hour on a stair climbing machine.
A close cousin of sand dunes and hill sprints, look for a fair amount of stairs locally and take up walking (or running). He uses the descent to rest before going back up.
Go for a bush walk
Something about getting out into nature makes it easy to forget you’re even exercising. With countless walks around the country at lengths and difficulty levels to suit anyone, head out for an afternoon of nature.
Just be sure to check all the rules and restrictions regarding Kauri’s dieback and follow the entry and exit instructions.
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