Ways to save on getting fit
- Nine tips to help you save money on getting fit
- How to find cheap gym membership and hire a tennis court for free
- How a salary sacrifice scheme could help you buy a new bike
This article, Ways to save on getting fit, was last updated on 05 January 2010 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Money articles.
Nine ways to save on getting fit
1. Cut the cost of gym membership
If you're determined to become a regular at the gym this year, think about how you could cut the cost of membership before joining up. For example, some employers offer their staff discounted membership at health clubs, while companies such as Total Fitness Leisure Clubs offer reductions for over 55s. In addition, many gyms will offer you cheaper membership if you agree to attend at off-peak times - so if you can be flexible on when you exercise, you could save money. Also, never be afraid to haggle with your gym's manager when signing up for membership; you may be able to talk your way out of paying the one-off joining fee that many clubs charge.
2. Stay local and save money
Membership at a chain gym such as LA Fitness could cost you over £550 a year, but luckily there are cheaper alternatives. Membership at FitSpace, which now has eight gyms across the UK, can cost as little as £12 a month. It's also well worth checking out what's on offer at your local leisure centre, and how much different activities cost. One advantage of using local authority facilities is that you're often able to pay for each individual visit - a bonus for anyone concerned about signing up for a monthly gym membership they may not use.
3. Take advantage of a free trial
Fitness First and Nuffield Health both currently offer a free one-day guest pass to their gyms, and many other companies allow existing gym members to bring a friend or family member along for a free trial. Spending one day at a fitness club should help you decide whether membership is for you, and it could kick-start healthy new habits even if you don't decide to join up.
4. Get fit outdoors for free
If you're a keen tennis player, find your nearest free court by searching online at www.tennisforfree.com. With peak-time tennis court hire costing £10 on average, playing for free could save you £520 over the year if you play once a week.
5. Save money at the swimming pool
Everyone knows that swimming is an excellent, all-round form of exercise. It’s great for both cardiovascular and muscular fitness. Even better, swimming at a local authority pool tends to be good value for money and is now free to over-60s in most areas. To find out more about the cost of swimming and search for your nearest free pool, contact your local authority.
6. Exercise at home
If you want a full workout but don’t fancy going to the gym, you could buy a cross-trainer or exercise bike to use at home. Check out our January sales guide to find out where you could get one at reduced cost, and take a look at our exercise equipment review to make sure you choose a top quality machine.
7. Get on your bike!
Cycling is a great way to get fit, and if you bike to work and back it will also save you money on petrol or public transport costs. One way to save on the cost of a new bike is via a salary-sacrifice scheme, which many employers now offer. This means giving up a portion of your salary in return for your company covering the cost of a bike. Which? researchers have found that buying an £850 bike under a salary sacrifice scheme could offer a saving of up to £379 - as you don't have to pay VAT on the bike or income tax on the portion of your salary which goes towards your new wheels!
8. Check out health insurance offers
If you're on the lookout for a private medical insurance policy and regularly go to the gym, PruHealth’s Vitality programme is worth a look. The rewards it offers to customers who exercise regularly could see you save hundreds of pounds on your gym costs. Aviva’s private medical cover also offers discounted gym membership.
9. Don't forget the small stuff
Finally, don't forget: spending money on little things while you're exercising could mean you end up seriously out of pocket over the course of a year. For example, buying a bottle of water each time you visit the gym could cost you £125 over 12 months if you train three times a week! So fill up an empty bottle at home instead.