Free fitness in the city

Posted by Katherine

Work has well and truly taken its toll on my ability to go out for an hour at lunchtime. Fortunately, this week is free week – and opportunities abound for quick and free activities.

These are the things I’ve been doing so far:

Sitting on a Pilates ball
According to the trainer at LA Fitness, sitting on a Pilates Ball, provided it’s properly inflated and is the right size, has a range of benefits. Balance and core muscles get a workout while your posture magically corrects itself.

Even though I still manage to slouch sometimes, I have found my posture has really improved a lot. I would definitely suggest investing £10 and getting a nice ball.

Walking through the park
MSN is located pretty close to Victoria, meaning that if I get off at Charing Cross, the walk through St James’ Park is really lovely. Weather and a horrible, awful reek emanating from the lake meant this has not been so lovely in recent weeks, but the stench has since died down.

Stairs are still the enemy of hyper-mobile people, but by using physio techniques and concentrating, I’ve been adding quality to going up the stairs I have to. This involves concentrating on making sure my knee is in line with my foot, which should also be in line with an…err… line to keep me straight and flexing every muscle in my leg as I shift weight and go up. This takes ages as well as practice, so I feel fine about not taking on more stairs.

Ski sits against the wall
Another physio trick that does me good is sitting on a invisible chair while my back is against the wall. This is so difficult that I’ve not yet passed three minutes at a time – and is good for my knee muscles as well.

I have to be really careful with push-ups as I tend to get all bendy any time a joint bears weight, so my wrists suffer when I try to do push-ups. My boyfriend will be teaching me how to do push-ups on stairs , which has so far felt a lot better.

Normal people would probably love the 100 push-up programme, which takes you from 0 to 100 push-ups in six weeks – in 30 minutes a week. I have to admit, I’m a bit jealous of people who can do this programme and I may check with my physio for permission to do it.

How does it feel?
Overall, I’ve been finding it all nice and easy, but the problem I’ve been having is that doing fitness for free feels constant – like I should always be active. At least in the gym, there is a set start and end time – I start to feel guilty if I don’t walk up the escalators.

Perhaps this is a side-effect banished by habit, but let me know if you have any tips to stay motivated doing free activities.

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