Watchdogs are warning ‘New Year, New Gym Bod’ seekers to take care when signing up for seemingly great deals - we say balls to gyms, buy yourself a gym ball. Or go for a run. Or maybe do some yoga in your bedroom with cans of beans for weights (using actual weights work too).
With many gyms not offering get out clauses and locking unwitting customers in for years, don't panic if you're not in a position to start signing up for crosstrainers. You can still get the toned, healthy Gym Bod you've always dreamt of... for a lot less money.
Buy a gym ball
They're cheap and swapping one for your normal desk chair means you'll burn 106 calories an hour just sitting on it. Something to do with balancing/trying not to roll off it, whatever, it's science. While you may need to practice- especially if you're not the most physically balanced individual- soon your posture will be improved and you'll have a six pack you can balance an actual six pack (i.e. of beer) on.
Not sure how to start? Let Sarah and Jessica (Jess for short) guide you...
Go for a run
Studies have shown that exercising outdoors makes you 50% happier than being stuck indoors, and what better way to get your heart rate up than jogging around a park to Rihanna? Or whatever else you have on your iPod. John Lennon? Just ten minutes a day will make you more mentally alert, motivated and focussed - great for job-hunters and the self employed. Jog before work/interning and you'll arrive bouncy and fresh, as opposed to zonked out and knackered.
Do a bit of yoga
No, it's more than a bit of stretching; doing simple yoga positions helps with insomnia, lowers stress levels and makes you feel like Gwyneth Paltrow's aura (ie smug, peaceful etc). Doing energizing yoga such as Seated Eagle upon waking will set you up for the day, but ending a session with Upside Down Relaxation will help you catch those Zs. Try to avoid referring to the amusing position names: "I'M GETTING UP IN A MINUTE, JUST DOING MY SUN SALUTATION" could provoke parents to think you've joined a cult.
For the visual learners among you- here's a quick video to get you started. NB: you don't have to do yoga in a park/by a hedge. Your bedroom works fine.
Take a swim
Dig out the trunks/one piece/bikini and clear those cobwebs- staff at the GoThinkBig office say they think clearest while in the pool. On top of this, a good swimming sesh works out pretty much every muscle in your body, giving you a great all-over workout provided you don't hit the cafe immediately after. Top tip: go mid to late morning to avoid the early morning splashy bankers and the late afternoon schoolkids- you can zoom passed the leisurely elderly swimmers to build confidence.
Cycle to and from places
Great for lowering transport costs, getting out in the fresh air (see previous statistic re outdoor exercise making you 50% happier) and developing a fantastic bottom, forgo the mind-numbing boredom of the train and convert to two wheels. Cycling classes are available all over the country for those who've never learned, then all you need is a bike, a helmet and some reflective gear for night-cycling. It's easier to fit into your day too, because you're getting from A to B as opposed to slogging it on a stationery bike.