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Ditch gym fees: the best ways to get fit at no (or little) cost | Fitness

If you want to get fit, joining a gym is often the starting point but the financial pressures caused by the cost of living crisis mean that for many Britons, committing to another big monthly expense is simply not an option.

Indeed, a study issued this month found that more than a third of consumers have given up fitness memberships for money reasons. Generation Z and millennials were hardest hit, with half of 25- to 34-year-olds cancelling memberships, rising to 56% for 18- to 24-year-olds, according to the poll by the workspace firm IWG.

But the appetite for getting fit and participating in activities is still there: in December, sports and outdoor retailers had their strongest month since last March, with sales of gear and equipment up 3.5%, according to Barclays data published this week.

The Barclays report says almost a third of those seeking cost-effective ways to start new resolutions are looking to take up “free” forms of exercise, such as running or following YouTube workouts. Here, we look at how to get fit at no or low cost.

Look to your council

Councils offer people low-cost access to sports clubs and facilities. A lot of what’s available is not means-tested. Some of these services will be free, or have a minimal charge. For example, Southwark council in London allows residents to sign up for a free swim pass that can be used at many leisure centres in the borough on Fridays and at weekends. Sign-up is usually required before attending, as new members will have to provide proof of address.

Certain groups will also be entitled to additional classes and clubs. For instance, in Northern Ireland, Mid Ulster’s “active lifestyle programme” is running £1 classes, including yoga, water aerobics and strength and balance. Some sessions are open to everyone but they primarily focus on children and young people with disabilities, new mothers and older people.

Welsh councils, including Conwy, Swansea and Wrexham, have a 60+ active leisure scheme providing cheap access to local facilities for the over-60s. This includes a free initial period.

Seek out initiatives

If you are set on taking up a specific…


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