Get fit on the cheap

sport-running

If you look out your window right now (provided you’re reading this at round about 11am on 22 April 2015), you’ll notice a most unusual thing – the sky is blue, the sun is out and there’s not a cloud to be seen. Guys, it’s happened – winter is over!

And with the new season comes a new burst of energy – so make the most of it and get active! With better weather, you’ve no excuse for staying cooped up in front of the telly. As well as being great for your physical health, exercise has proven mental health benefits too – really important at this time of year when exams are looming.

Getting fit doesn’t have to cost the earth either – in fact, there’s a whole gym right on your doorstep that doesn’t cost a penny. So how can you get fit in the great outdoors? Read on to find out…

Run for it

Running is one of the easiest, cheapest and most straight forward of exercise options – just stick on your trainers and run, Forrest, run! Running is great for strengthening bones and muscles, improving cardiovascular fitness and maintaining a healthy weight. Whether you’re practically Usain Bolt or a total novice, running is a great activity to take up – you can set yourself goals in terms of distance or time, track your progress with an app, or sign up for a local fun run or competition to give yourself something to work towards. Check out upcoming events at scottishrunningguide.com

Walk on

If you’re not a runner, walking is a great alternative. We’re not talking a leisurely stroll to the shop at the end of the road to get an ice cream – head out with a distance and time limit in mind and go for it with enthusiasm. It’s recommended that we walk 10,000 steps a day – you can get some great apps for your smartphone which can monitor this – to maintain good health. Walking strengthens your heart, reduces risk of chronic illnesses, asthma, stroke and some cancers – so it’s definitely worth the effort.

DIY boot camp

We all get those daily deal emails into our inboxes with bargainous boot camp offers, but you can get it even cheaper if you use your initiative – no need for a trainer! Military-style fitness classes are ALL the rage, and the health benefits are numerous. Combining a range of different activities, form lunges to jumping jacks, push-ups to bench dips, you’ll be at Army-levels of fitness in no time. And quite sweaty too. Google some different routines and mix it up – you can go for it in your back garden or round up your friends and head to a nearby park.

Just keep swimming

Nemo’s mate Dory had the right idea with her ‘just keep swimming’ mantra – it’s an amazing workout. Swimming builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness, as well as toning muscles and building your strength. Yes, your local pool will charge you a fee to use their facilities but as a young person, you’re entitled to big discounts – always ask at the front desk before parting with your cash.

On your bike

See that two-wheeled thing that’s lost at the back of the shed? Dig it out and climb aboard for a fantastic workout! Cycling is great for cardio, muscle strength, joint mobility and it decreases your stress levels. Search for cycle routes near you at www.cycle-route.com

Get sporty

Whether it’s football with your mates, the local tennis club or a hockey team, there are loads of different sports teams in your area which offer great fitness benefits. Check out the Sport Scotland site to find clubs in your area, or check out your local authority’s sport and leisure site to see what they have too.

Fun and games

It might sound daft, but rounding up your pals and heading to the local park for some old school playground-style games is not only amazing fun (if you don’t mind questioning looks from your neighbours) but it’ll get you running around like a daftie, get your heart pumping and make you work muscles you haven’t used since P4. Rounders, red rover, skipping, hopscotch – all valid workouts that don’t cost the earth!

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