Couch to 5K

Like healthy eating, exercise can be one of the things cut when a person’s on a budget. It feels like a luxury, or maybe the budget’s just a bit of an excuse – a way to justify not getting fit. Either way, it’s true that fancy exercise gear and gym memberships can cost a lot. To my mind, if you have a bit of spare cash, they’re worth the investment, too. Your health is important and I don’t think anybody needs convincing that regular exercise is a massive part of that.  I’m a member of my local council gyms and also spend money going wall climbing most weeks, and it’s not something I want to give up even though I’m trying to save money.

Exercise machines (284617740)

Exercise machines (284617740) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you really don’t have the budget to join the gym or head along to an exercise class, running is a great way to get fit at low cost, get out in the fresh air and enjoy some of your local scenery.  All you really need is a pair of trainers (which I’m guessing most people already own) and some kind of vaguely exercise appropriate wear (shorts, vest tops, leggings, maybe a zip up hoodie or similar – you don’t need to spend a lot when you’re starting out).

I’ve just finished the Couch to 5K plan, which aims to get beginners running for 30 minutes three times a week within nine weeks, and I totally loved it.  As well as the gear listed above, you’ll need something to play the podcasts on (I downloaded the ones from the NHS website for free) plus earphones. You can just use your normal iPod or phone or any generic mp3 player really.

English: 3G iPod with included dock, earphones...

English: 3G iPod with included dock, earphones, and beltclip carrying case. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It took me ten weeks to finish the plan because I had a couple of weeks where I could only run twice, and to my amazement, it totally worked. I can’t run 5K yet because despite the name the programme focuses on time, not distance, but I know I’ll end up getting there eventually. The programme is set up for total beginners and for the first few weeks, you run for short bursts mixed in with walking intervals to help you recover. In week one, I found it difficult to run for 60 seconds at a time – I could never have imagined that only 5 weeks later I’d be running a whole 20 minutes without stopping and even (shock horror) enjoying it!

So if you want to try getting fit for less, why not try out Couch to 5K?

PS This is not a sponsored post and I haven’t been paid anything to write it; I’m just so happy that I can now run that I wanted to let other people know about the programme 🙂

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