Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Fighting for fitness

Sura Nualpradid/

Sura Nualpradid/

January is almost at an end – how are your resolutions faring? If you’re like the vast majority of Irish resolution-makers, your will is being severely tested, whether it’s a promise to yourself that you’ll give up smoking, avoid bad food, or exercise on a more regular basis (or at all).

For the latter, you might begin to make excuses for yourself, along the lines of the gym being too expensive, and the same for clothing or equipment. But exercising is one thing for which the free alternatives are just as useful.

Take a walk

As a start, open your windows and look out at the world outside. It might be a little dark and, depending on where you live, smelly, but there are plenty of wide open spaces across the country, and the government has yet to introduce a tax on walking and running (never say never).

Walking is one of the best and simplest exercises you can do to help keep healthy. And, while you can splurge on a brightly-coloured spandex outfit complete with cap and various iPhone tracking apps, all you really need is some motivation and a comfortable pair of shoes. Walking on a regular basis has a number of benefits, contributing to stress reduction, weight management, increased levels of energy, heart health and muscle growth. While it’s best to go for a run early in the morning, before the day leaves you tired and not in the mood, you can go for a short walk before and after work, during lunch, or right before bed.

Bike benefits

If you want to burn as many calories as possible, get yourself a bike. On a moderate cycle, you could be burning around 900 calories per hour. Local bike shops will usually have a great selection of new and used bikes for a little less. Benefits include sleeping better, stronger bones, reduced chances of getting bowel cancer, a reduction in mental health conditions, and stimulation of the heart, lungs and circulation. And, depending on where you live, you could enjoy some great views too.

Work out at home

With the proliferation of the Internet and everything you can do with it, you don’t actually have to leave your house, from working at home to ordering your groceries from Tesco online to everything else via eBay and Amazon. YouTube is a great free alternative to fitness DVDs, with channels like BeFit and Blogilates offering a great way to keep fit in your sitting room, especially if the outside world isn’t really for you.

So if you aim to get more active in 2015, you’ve got no excuse (from a financial aspect, that is). Good luck!