Most of us have made that promise to ourselves: ‘I will, without fail, make it to the gym after work tonight.’ But as we all know, things don’t always go according to plan.
Making it to the gym before or after work is a constant challenge and often involves setting the alarm clock at some ungodly hour. And if it’s been months, rather than days, since your last gym visit it becomes harder and harder to justify the cost.
So, do we really need to join a gym to keep fit?
For busy women and mums, personal trainer and nutritionist Katherine Rothwell says running outdoors is a great alternative to clocking up the kilometres on a treadmill at the gym (and paying for the privilege to do it).
“Running is a great exercise because even a short run of 10 minutes can deliver great results,” she says. “For time-poor parents it’s fantastic as you can literally run straight from your own home, either on your own or with a pram.”
If you can’t manage a walk or run outside, exercising at home is another time-saving option.
“Doing exercises at home is a great way to improve strength without expensive gym memberships,” says Rothwell, adding that women can take care of their strength training at home with a set of dumbbells.
“There is so much you can do at home. You don’t need a gym … There are many websites that provide online programs,” she says. “You can definitely do a lot of fitness stuff at home. Push-ups, squat jumps, star jumps, running on the spot or skipping can give you a really good workout.”
Also, don’t underestimate the value of incidental exercise.
Rothwell says simple things like walking home from work, taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking or running with a colleague at lunch, getting off the bus a stop early, or joining a local ‘mums and bubs’ class are all convenient ways to include exercise in your day – and they all make a difference.