Keeping Fit for Free

With the cost of living still feeling high, many of us are understandably keeping an eye on the pennies. 

Whether you're tightening the budget or simply looking for a no-cost way to spice up your fitness routine, there are plenty of options available that won't strain your wallet. From harnessing the great outdoors to utilising free online resources, there are many options for keeping fit on a budget.

We’ve put together 21 free ways to help keep fit without spending your hard-earned cash.


Free Outdoor Facilities

Outdoor Gyms: There are thousands of pieces of gym equipment installed across the UK in parks and public places. Calisthenics Parks offers a pretty good map to find ones near you, plus the companies who make most of them also list where they are, try Fresh Air Fitness and The Great Outdoor Gym Company which has a free app.

Basketball: Basketball courts are increasingly common and it’s great to see them being used often. Courts of the World lists lots of the courts you can access for free.

Tennis: The well named Tennis Is For Free offers tennis courts for free! The Lawn Tennis Association lists courts around the UK, many of which are in public parks and are bookable for a few pounds (so almost free). 


Free Fitness Apps

While at Active Teams we use the free fitness tracker Strava, other apps are available!

Seven: The free HIIT app Seven is a great way to help you squeeze exercise bursts into just seven minute windows.

Couch to 5k: A brilliant, free app from the NHS which offers celebrity support while helping you build up your running stamina so you can achieve a 5k in 9 weeks. We use it on our own C25K courses. 

Nike Run Club: Another free app (which has no in-app purchases) is Nike’s Run Club which offers a running community, guided runs and challengers.

Stand Up!: If you feel a bit desk bound and regularly forget to get up every hour, the Stand Up! app (only for iOS sadly) is a great way to remind yourself to stand more.


Free YouTube Fitness

Loads of YouTubers are offering great free activity videos and there’s almost too much to choose from if you want to just get moving in your own home. Make sure to take new activities slowly and listen to your body when you’re trying them out on your own though. Classics include:

Joe Wicks The Body Coach TV: Accessible workouts for all levels.

Yoga with Adrienne: YouTube's top yogi brings Yoga for all abilities including a Yoga For Beginners and Foundations of Yoga series.

Popsugar Fitness: All types of dance-related workouts, plus meditation and yoga too, aimed at everyone from beginners up.

Just Dance: Kids around the world love Just Dance, with its well-known music, colourful graphics and fun dances. While Just Dance is available for consoles and as an app, the Just Dance YouTube channel is lots of fun. 


Free Gaming Fun

If you need a little something extra to help motivate you, what about playing free activity gaming apps?

Marvel Move: The free Marvel Move app invites you to walk, jog and run alongside super heroes including the X-Men, Thor & Hulk while listening to interactive audio adventures.

Zombies Run!:  Nothing motivates quite like the fear of getting your head bitten off. This run app takes you on a journey where sometimes you have to run for your life.

Pokemon Go: If plain old walking isn’t quite enough for you, Pokemon Go offers lots of pokemon catching fun as you explore the world around you. Just watch where you’re going, please!


Free Parklife

We can’t have a list of free activities without including going to your local green space or park. Not only do parks offer lots of opportunities to get active, studies show that spending time in green spaces brings many health benefits.

parkrun: Free, weekly 5k walks and runs around the whole of the UK (and beyond!) every Saturday morning. Just join up on the site and take your barcode along to get your personalised time at the end. We promise you’ll be spurred on by the great sense of community parkruns have.

Play in the Park: With a bit of additional kit though you can also enjoy loads of games and sports with a few friends, such as frisbee, football or cricket in the park.


Walking and Cycling

We can't put this list together without including two fantastic and cost-effective ways to exercise.

Walking: Walking always has been the classic way to stay healthy and active. As well as being good for your heart, bones and muscles, it's also great for the environment (and the wallet). Need inspiration? Try the AllTrails app, the National Trust or try the new Slow Ways site. 

Cycling: A bike is a fantastic way to get around and stay fit. If you have one at the back of the shed, dust it off, check it's safe and get riding. If you need some inspiration on where to go, try the Sustrans National Cycling Map or to plan a route use the Cycling option on Google or Apple Maps.


Hit the Home Gym

After age 30, we start losing muscle strength at 3-5% per decade. Over 50 we can lose muscle mass at 1-2% per year. If you want to retain your strength in the coming decades, strength training is no longer optional!

Workout at Home: No need to join the gym though, it’s easy to workout at home. If you don't have any any equipment then there a million and one very good 'bodyweight' exercises. There are lots of apps available for people wanting to workout at home, why not get started with an article like this one on How to Get a Full-Body Strength Training Workout at Home or try Darebee's huge range of workouts. 



And Finally...

GoodGym: The charity GoodGym has a brilliant take on getting moving. They are a community of volunteers who do activities to help others. Run, walk, and cycle to help local community organisations and isolated older people by doing practical tasks. You’ll almost certainly do things you’ve never done and meet some people you’ve never met, all while doing good.

Go Plogging: Plogging is a movement where people walk or jog while picking up litter. The name comes from the the Swedish verbs plocka upp (pick up) and jogga (jog). 

Add to Our List

Have we missed something from our list? Send us your ideas.

Find Out More

Learn how Active Teams boosts workplace health and performance using 'The Miracle Cure' of activity.