Fitness in the city

Posted by Katie

I must admit, the days running up to this fitness challenge were a bit like Mardi Gras in my house: between Friday night and Sunday, I had pizza, doughnuts, fish and chips, chocolate covered strawberries, tacos and ice cream. At one point, I wondered if it would descend to me adding sugar to my water and butter to my coffee; “Just relax into this diet of pure fat and sugar,” my mind was telling me. “It’s so tasty.”

Fortunately, there is no fitness like public fitness and I’d already committed myself to blogging a month of exercise, which I hate. Don’t get me wrong, I love activity – but I can’t think of anything worse than spending an hour on a treadmill.

Part of my loathing of exercise is the lack of places for me to do it affordably. I’m hyper mobile in all joints and previous stints of attempted running left me wheelchair-bound until corrective surgery. So my options for fitness are Pilates, swimming and cycling.

All of these require either tuition or equipment – and none of them come cheap.

I’ve always resented the fact that gyms essentially charge you to change your mind – those annual contracts sting if your circumstances change. Fortunately, the gym closest to me offers a £40 for a month offer, which is just about the best price going. I’ll be chatting to LA Fitness later this week to see what they could do for a couch potato on a budget.

Next on the list is the Westminster community pool, where a swimming-only membership costs £27 and provides discounts on classes, which would be handy if they had Pilates. Otherwise a swim is £4.60 a go.

The only other community pool I know of in central London is the YMCA, but it is rather far to get to from Victoria for the pool alone. But if I want to learn proper Pilates and not spend £50 a lesson, I may have to trek over as it only costs £12 for non-members. Membership to the gym isn’t that great a deal as it only gets you £2 off Pilates classes, and even without, the rates aren’t really affordable to many working adults. The annual contract works out to be £588, or £1018 if you wanted to attend one Pilates class a week.

But I think I’ve found an affordable option: the Danceworks Studio near Bond Street offers classes for £10 – and I don’t have to sign my life away to get a lesson. I figure if I stick to one Pilates class a week and swim each day at the community pool, I can get through this week spending only £33.

If I survive all of this health, that is.

Do you have any fitness tips for city-dwellers? Post a comment and let me know.

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7 Responses to Fitness in the city

  1. Christine says:

    You could see if you can get a second hand bicycle from freecycle which will cost you nothing more than fetching it and a possible bit of work to bring it up to standard. That would allow you to get on the road for regular cycling at no cost. Likewise you often find second hand gym equipment offered where people have gone off the idea of exercise.  This would maybe allow you to find a corner at home to use whatever you can collect – again free and no traveling to classes.

  2. jo says:

    Katie, Is £33 per week on excersise really living frugally? If you are a resident in many boroughs in London they can provide you with a swim pass, which allows you to swim as many times as you like for about £10 per week. There are many outdoors pilates classes you can take on the different commons and parks which are much cheaper than a formal session, and sure to be one near you. The cycling suggestion is also very good – but another one would be just walking if you can. As simple as it sounds walking 4-5 miles each day is free, great excersise and a nice way to see the city.

  3. Unknown says:

    I don\’t understand why you need to pay to exercise.  I am fit and frugal and I take walks and stretch while listening to music.  Sit-ups and push-ups are also great & FREE.

  4. MSN Money editors says:

    Thanks for the tips so far! I\’ll post in week three of the challenge about totally free stuff I\’ll be doing such as walking, stairs and press-ups. As for the resident pass, it\’s a good point (and can save a LOT of cash) but only if you reside in a borough with a community sports centre. I\’ll also be looking into the £40 for one month offer from my local gym to see if they have everything I need. Keep the ideas coming, as I\’ll absolutely use them all at some point in the challenge!

  5. Nina says:

    I can really sympathise with having hyper mobility as I have it to in many joints. My doctir keeps promising that soon people like us will have free membership to council run gyms as over weight people do. Good luck!

  6. Steve Lee says:

    I pay £38 a month for my gym which has no strings attached and it includings all the classes. Tennis courts and tracks extra though. There\’s kickboxing, yoga, tai chi classes and I think theres something called Rueda as well. Well the gym is Millennium Arena located within Battersea Park. There\’s no swimming pool but you should still check it out and they just recently installed new equipment in the fitness suite.

  7. Unknown says:

    Well theres is a simple way to lose weight pay high prises for food get less eat less then weigh less
    No but really i have my own home gym which i have saved for in the living room and it is the cheepest wasy to keep fit no over heads of gym fees and you can have friends over 3 times a week who also like to keep fit also.

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