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Saving money in 2016: Get Active without an Expensive Gym Membership

Sillouette of a woman lunging on grass with blue sky in the background.

15 Jan 2016

Posted in:  Everyday Banking

Ah the New Year! That time of year where we optimistically purchase a gym membership, briefly attend with great gusto, only to give up sometime around February. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. In fact, approximately 60% of gym memberships are left un-used. While a gym is an excellent way to get fit, it can be an expensive luxury if you’re trying to add to your savings.

Top Tips for saving money on exercise

Walk This Way

If you’re just beginning on your fitness journey, it can be tempting to over exert yourself and put yourself off participating in any exercise ever again.Why not be a little kinder to yourself this year? Try walking before you can run. It may not be trendy, but studies consistently show that this simple form of exercise is fantastic for your health.

Incorporating just 30 minutes of walking into your day has been proven to lower your risk of disease, prevent dementia, improve your mental health and strengthen your heart - as well as trimming your waistline. Find a like-minded friend and use the time to de-stress and catch up on the day’s happenings.

Staying In

Sometimes it can be difficult to sum up the motivation to leave the house to exercise, especially on a rainy January evening. But don’t fret, there’s plenty you can do to get active in the comfort of your own home.

YouTube is a fantastic resource for free fitness videos with thousands of hours of footage to tap into. While many of the world’s top trainers have their own YouTube channels, offering free online tutorials you can follow along in the comfort of your own living room. From yoga to six-pack shortcuts, there is something for everyone. Better yet, it’s all just a click away.

Saving Tips Chores

Exercise is A Chore

Although it’s tempting to schedule separate time for exercise, daily chores can be fantastic fat burners too. If another one of your New Year’s resolution is to get the garden cleaned up, combine the two activities. Get outside and clean up your garden, whilst also burning off calories. In fact, gardening burns approximately 300 calories an hour.*

Even smaller chores like hoovering and ironing are excellent ways to tone up. Don’t forget to bask in that extra smug feeling you get for tackling a job from your to-do list and fitting in some exercise.

Technology is your friend

If you are one of the 1 in 4 Irish people with a smartphone you’re in luck. There are a dizzying array of fitness apps that allow you to transform your phone into a pocket personal trainer. For starters, many smartphones now come preloaded with a health app that tracks your steps. This is a good place to start to track the activity you already do – and what you can build on. Take time to explore your free apps as well. A lot of popular exercise apps offer people the chance to transform their fitness with easy programmes to help you go from couch to 5k.

Saving Tips Running Outdoors

Park life

Finally if you simply can’t do without traditional gym equipment, heading to your local park offers a good workaround. Many Irish parks across the country are now kitted out with outdoor fitness machines, to add an extra challenge to your workout. Bonus points - you get the benefit of working out in the fresh air as well. And if the thoughts of conducting your workout in front of the local population leaves you quaking in your tracksuit, then bring a few friends along on your first visit for moral support.

Click here for a full list of park locations.

What to do with your new found savings

If you’re planning on flexing your savings muscles this year, AIB have a host of helpful tools to get your finances into shape. Just like setting fitness goals, a savings goal will give you something to aim for and ensure you reach your target. The first step is to evaluate what shape your finances are in at the moment. Don’t worry, this isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Take a look at the My Money Manager tool on AIB online banking and this will show you exactly where you’re spending and where you can afford to trim any fat. If you are unsure exactly what you have left at the end of the month to put aside, then the Family Finance Budgeting tool will help to clarify your household budget. The colour coded charts make it easy to see exactly where your spending is going. You can even adjust your planned monthly spending and see how that will impact your finances.

Finally, just like setting fitness goals, a savings goal will give you something to aim for and ensure you reach your target. Once you’ve figured exactly what you can afford to save, check out the Savings Calculator tool to determine your savings potential. You’ll be surprised how quickly your money can grow if you set aside a little each month.

*Sources: WebMD

Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Copyright Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. 1995

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