Getting Fit for Free – A Student Guide to Exercise

The New Year is underway and one of your resolutions is to get fit. Unfortunately, you're a student and that means you're pretty much broke. Going to the gym is out of the question, as is joining any class that makes you pay! You could join one of the university sports societies but after a lifetime of non-exercise, it can be intimidating to try. Don't worry though - we've got some great ideas for ways to get fit, for free.

(An important note: all of these can be done entirely for free, but you may find that if you want to go further with it, a cheap purchase or two can boost your progress. We'll note what we recommend here!) Running Let's get the most obvious and least interesting one out of the way first - go running. It's easy to start - just google popular running routes in your area. Of course, it's also one of the hardest to stick to, so if you have a favourite music collection or audio book (or course based book ...), make use of it or you'll quickly find yourself getting bored. Some universities have beginners running clubs, where you go out as a group which might make things more exciting!

(Our not-free-but-cheap recommendation? Zombies, Run - an audio app which makes your running part of a story as well as being timed to help boost your endurance. Great if you're worried about losing interest!) Yoga Easy enough to do at home and work into your daily routine - there's plenty of videos online demonstrating the basic moves. However, if you do chooes this one, be cautious as you may overstretch without the aid of a tutor. This is best for those of you looking to stretch and tone, rather than work on cardiovascular exercise, and it's definitely better for you to do the stretches a bit too gentle than a bit too much!

(Not-free-but-cheap recommendation: get a yoga/exercise mat. This'll make it much more comfortable!) Aerobics - with friends!

Aerobics has a reputation for looking a bit silly and like something out of the 80s. So why not take advantage of this? Find yourself a routine on youtube, get your friends round and your legwarmers on and have a great retro workout. This is a really good way to get started for those of you who prefer socialising to working out, plus the bonus giggles will really help burn those calories away.

(Not-free-but-cheap? Invest in some proper cheesy aerobics videos!) Ultimate Frisbee!

Your university probably already has a group for this - if not, start one! It's great because it's a team-based game, meaning you get the social benefits, but its also a very silly one so you don't need to worry about being new to it and embarrassing yourself. Well, you will embarrass yourself - but so will everyone else playing, because it's frisbee.

(Not-free-but-cheap? Buy your own frisbee!) Borrow a Dog No, really! This is a thing you can actually do. There's plenty of people out there who can't walk their dogs- whether thanks to age, illness or simply lack of time. You can fill that space - potentially even earning money for doing so. The commitment to a dog will encourage you to actually leave the house and exercise, and also make it far more enjoyable too.

(Not-free-but-cheap? Treats. Make that dog love you!) Useful Links 5 ways for postgrads to keep fit
How food affects your postgrad productivity
Balancing commitments
Student wellbeing

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