Wednesday 19 June 2019

Lose pounds not euros getting fit

A new year resolution to exercise doesn't have to make your wallet skinny too

Discipline: Joining a gym with classes like Pilates can make it easier to stick to fitness goals
Discipline: Joining a gym with classes like Pilates can make it easier to stick to fitness goals

Sinead Ryan - Your Money

If you're frantically shaking your bathroom scales wondering why it has suddenly added 10 lbs to your weight, chances are you'll be resigned to getting in shape the hard way for 2019. However, before you splash the cash on expensive gym subscriptions, there are lots of ways of losing pounds instead of Euros.

Most of us start the year with new resolutions and for many, getting fitter is a key one … yet again.

'Science Daily' has released the results of research by Iowa State University showing that those who are members of a gym are 14 times more aerobically fit than non-members . The study showed they had better cardiovascular outcomes and it improved for those with more than one years' gym membership. Of course, the membership alone isn't the key: it's turning up!

Experts say you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week with at least 2 days to include weight-bearing exercise.

This doesn't have to come at a price. A brisk walk, jog or run, or using soup cans as weights is just as good. Consistency, not cost, makes the difference.

But for those who feel they do better with the availability of a gym, especially one with classes like kettlebells, pilates or spinning, exercising with a group and instructor can be much more beneficial. The panel shows a selection of gyms with extensive programmes and great prices.

But how do you find out what's right for you?

1. Enjoyment

The most important thing is to find something you enjoy, says personal trainer Karl Henry who runs the popular RealHealth podcast.

It could be a dance class, a local community walk or the goal of a 10k. The very popular Park Run (parkrun.ie) sees hundreds of people every Saturday morning don their runners for 5k. Even walkers with kids in buggies are welcome. It's completely free and there's no special equipment required.

2. Eat smart too

Losing weight is 70pc diet and 30pc exercise, so linking healthy eating will double your chances of getting fit and looking better.

3. Research your gym

If you're intent on joining a gym, it's worth checking out the following before committing your money:

• Do you have to sign up for 12 months, or is it pay as you go? Some people will go more often if they've paid for it, but on the other hand, if your cost by use is the entire month's membership, it's an expensive hobby.

• Is there a trial period, or a discount for the first month to see how you go?

• Are classes included in the price, or do they cost extra?

• If swimming isn't your thing, consider a gym without one - it's sure to be cheaper and you're not subsidising everyone else.

• Likewise, gyms located in fancy hotels invariably cost more. Cheaper Council-run gyms let you pay as you go.

• Do the opening times work for you? If you can go to the gym in off-peak hours is there a discount?

• What is the assessment process like? Is there a trained fitness professional who will design a programme for you?

4. Kit out for less

Retailers know more people buy fitness gear now than at any other time, so there's great choice out there right now for consumers.

From this week, Aldi is selling a Balance Ball (€39.99) with 2 training bands and a DVD, and Kettle Bells (from €4.99). Dunnes Stores has yoga mats for €10 and Ombre Knit jogging shoes for €16.

While Lidl is offering a full workout bench for €39.99

Irish Independent

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