Cheap and Fun Alternatives to the Gym

We’re back into the swing of things at University with the Easter holidays fast approaching. What with us soon to be cramming our faces full with Easter eggs, there’s not really a better time to start getting into a workout routine to make us feel healthier. However, if like me (and I’m sure most others out there) the word ‘gym’ brings up feelings of dread, then don’t worry, there are alternative exercise methods you can try and quite possibly enjoy!

• Walking

Why not trade in that bus pass and start walking to lectures instead? It’s a great way of incorporating exercise into your everyday routine without even realising! If you live a long way from uni and the centre of town, it’s just as good to get off a couple of stops early and walk the rest of the way there. During the summer you’ll be able to get a tan, and in the winter it’ll keep you nice and warm if you’re fairly fast paced!

• Running

If you’re looking for a more intensive form of exercise, then why not pick up the pace and run instead? Set yourself goals before you set off to motivate yourself: try running half a mile three days a week, and if you don’t find that challenging enough, extend it to one mile. Listen to your favourite songs to pass the time, but if jogging when it’s dark, avoid dimly lit areas, or places like parks where there’s no one around. If you’ve got a friend who wants to run alongside you then even better – extra motivation and extra competition!

• Dancing

If it’s the monotony of the gym you don’t enjoy (half an hour on the treadmill followed by half an hour on the cross trainer and half an hour on the rowing machine… urrghh!) then dancing can be a great way to shake the routine up a bit. Your University is likely to have some classes running, or you could alternatively Google classes in your area. From ballet and jazz to belly dancing or even Irish dancing, there’s sure to be a dance type that you’ll enjoy!

• Join a sports team

If you like to mix exercise with socialising, then it can be a good idea to have a look at the sports clubs at your University. Most Universities will have different clubs depending on your level; so whether you were captain of the netball team at school, or want to improve at hockey even though you weren’t much good at it; just go for it! You’ll find great friends in your teammates, which could potentially lead to lifelong friends after uni.

• Skip!

Research has shown that short, sharp bursts of exercise can be very good for you and boosting your energy levels. Just ten minutes a day of intense exercise can do wonders for your figure, and one of the best forms of exercise (believe it or not) is skipping. Each minute of skipping burns off 11 calories, which equates to over 600 per hour – so if you fancy having a chocolate bar, it’s like you never even ate it! To change your routine around so your body doesn’t get used to the exercise, incorporate skipping with star jumps, sit ups and the plank to tone your body.

The best thing about these exercise methods is that most of them are free! A skipping rope may cost you a couple of quid; for the sport’s team you may have to pay a one-off membership, and you’ll find that most dance classes will have discounts for students… leaving you with extra money to enjoy nights out with your new, leaner body!

Written by Elle Pollicott