May has arrived, which means summer is just around the corner! So who else is unpacking their summer wardrobe and seriously regretting not sticking to their New Years resolutions? Suddenly you regret demolishing all of those Easter eggs last month, or skipping the gym last night to go to the pub with your colleagues instead. Living in London it can sometimes feel difficult to get the right amount of exercise, whether it’s down to not having the time or the right resources. For me a significant barrier to staying fit in London is the extortionate gym membership fees – seriously, who pays £150 a month!?.
So to help others in this situation I’ve put together a list of 5 other ways to get fit in London…
1. Ditch the Public Transport and Walk!
London is not only a safe and beautiful city to walk around, but many places are actually a lot closer to each other than you may think. Check out the maps below to see if you could get some exercise and walk rather than getting on the dreaded tube.
2. Jump on a Boris Bike
£2 for unlimited use for 24 hours (well, as long as you stick to the 30 minute slots). Hiring a TFL bike is much cheaper than a return journey on the tube, and you get your daily dose of fitness.
I often cycle to and from work during the warmer summer months. This means I get over 2 hours of exercise every day, without having to drag myself to the gym in the evening, and I get to see so much more of the city (plenty of spontaneous photo ops!). However, if cycling isn’t an easy commuting option for you, you can still make the most of the bikes in your free time. Rather than heading into central on the tube every weekend, find somewhere interesting in your local area and cycle there!
3. Join a Free Run Club
Nike+ Run Club – Runners of all abilities can join Nike’s free weekly run club, starting from either Nike Central Kings Cross or Niketown Oxford Street and heading through the streets of London. The runs are accompanied by pros and there is even an app which you can download and use to design your own training plan and track your process. Whether you’re training for your first 5k or your 10th marathon, or simply looking for a social run with likeminded people, the Nike+ run club is a great free way motivate your self to get going.
From summer 2017 Nike is also introducting Nike Training Club – free endurance and mobility fitness classes in Hyde Park, Battersea Park and Victoria Park.
Other Free Running Clubs and Communities…
4. Shop Around for Introductory Deals on Classes
One things I’ve realized lately is that I am far more productive during a 1 hour fitness class than I am spending 2 hours in the gym trudging along slowly on a treadmill. Having an instructor and a group to work out with leads to greater motivation and therefore a workout that actually has me aching the next day.
Plus, in a time of increasing competition, many companies offer amazing introductory deals to new clients in order to draw in business to their classes. Shopping around and making the most of these deals is a great way to save money. An added bonus is that you get to try out a few new things and decide what type of exercise suits you best before investing in something more permanent. Here are a few suggestions to get you going…
Swift Fitness – Swift Fitness offer group bootcamp sessions with expert personal trainers in Clapham Common, Fulham, Brockwell Park, London Bridge, Battersea Park, Highbury Fields, Tooting and Green Park. Your first session is free (just sign up online) and they promise there will be no hard sell at the end. Back in January I picked up a great introductory deal, 6 sessions for £19 (usually £12 per session), so make sure you keep an eye out for special offers like this one.
After the introduction an unlimited monthly pass is £49 or £36 for students and key workers. With sessions running every day this is great value for money!
Update May 2017: As a fully pledged Swift member I can now refer friends who will get their first month free. These sessions are fantastic and I’d definitely recommend, so drop me an email if you’re interested.
The Power Yoga Company – If you’re looking to improve your strength, balance and flexibility in a cute little yoga studio which just screams South West London then give The Power Yoga Company in Fulham a try. They have an introductory offer of 3 sessions for £15 (which must be used within 15 days), plus 15% any additional sessions you book during this time.
Cyclebeat – Ever tried indoor cycling? No me neither, but it look’s like a good workout. Plus Cyclebeat have a studio centrally located in the heart of the city so it’s perfect for after work classes. Check out their introductory offer of 15 days of unlimited classes for £25.
Good Vibes – Want to try a bit of everything? At Good Vibes you can enjoy unlimited pilates, yoga and spinning for £45 for your first month, as well as 50% off power plates sessions, at both their Covent Garden and Fitzrovia studios.
5. Combine Fitness with Fun
If you’re the type of person who think’s spending any money whatsoever on exercise is a waste, and therefore have taken no notice of my ideas above, how about combining exercise with fun activities so you feel like you’re getting something extra out of it?
Free Jumping – Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is London’s first trampoline park. Bounce around on the 150 interconnected trampolines whilst practicing tricks into the giant airbag and squishy foam pit. An hours free jumping slot is £12.50 or join a 60 minute group fitness class for just £10. This is a great way to combine a fun afternoon out with friends and a workout.
Get Dancing! – Surprise everyone on your next night out and learn to dance. Groupon is full of beginners dance classes, with everything from salsa and tango to street dance or even belly dancing, for as little as £2.5o per session.
Face ‘The Beast’ – a.k.a the world’s largest inflatable which is coming to London’s Alexandra Palace for the August bank holiday! Prepare to make an idiot of yourself as you tackle this insane 893ft obstacle course in an attempt to break the course record.
What advice would you give someone looking to get fit on a budget in London?