Getting involved with sports and fitness activities is a pretty important part of day to day life. Exercise helps you not only by providing physical benefits to keep you fit but it also works wonders for your mental health.
Unfortunately, some sports are inaccessible due to the costs involved in membership fees for the gym or even sports clubs. On a more positive note, there are plenty of sports and exercise that can be done without the need for costly equipment or membership fees. In this article we explore some of the best affordable sports for your physical and mental health.
First on the list of accessible sporting activities that are relatively budget friendly is cycling. Granted, with cycling there is the initial investment of the bike. However, if you aren’t too fussy about having a top of the range branded bike, you can still get a decent priced bicycle that does the job. What’s more is that once you have made the upfront payment, there are no hidden costs or subscription fees.
Of course cycle maintenance issues may arise but that doesn’t mean you can’t challenge yourself to fix any of these issues on your own. There are plenty of videos and how-to guides out there to help you. Our favourite provider is cycle maintenance academy who provide video guides on youtube which are completely free to access as well as their step by step blog posts available on their website.
When it comes to the health and fitness benefits of cycling the list is jam packed. It increases your cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility and improves your joint mobility. Furthermore cycling has been scientifically proven to help prevent and manage disease, improve your coordination and decrease stress.
This makes it the perfect exercise to improve your physical fitness and your mental wellbeing. Another reason why we love cycling is that you don’t necessarily have to put additional spare time aside to cycle, you could actually combine it with your daily commute to work and opt to cycle rather than drive or take public transport. This not only means you can get to and from work in a way that benefits your health, you can save money on the cost of travel and contribute positively to the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.
One of the most accessible forms of exercise is running, you can do it pretty much anywhere and it is completely free. What’s great about running is that it is potentially the most straightforward way to get all the best benefits of exercise.
Running is a great way to improve your aerobic fitness which in turn improves your cardiovascular health. If you are looking to burn calories running is a great option because not only does it burn calories it actually increases your tone and strength.
Furthermore, running does not just benefit you physically but it also provides benefits for your mental health too. Running has been proven to improve your memory as well as ability to learn. Running outside is a good way to decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation whilst reducing stress levels, depression and anxiety.
One of our favourite affordable exercises is dance. This form of exercise is extremely versatile with such a range of dancing styles and movements to suit all abilities. All you need is some music and if you need guidance you can watch a YouTube tutorial for help. Dance, like cycling and running, is great for your cardiovascular health but it also helps to strengthen and tone your muscles, increase circulation and decrease blood pressure.
The best part about dancing is that it is a great way to lift your mood which in the long run helps to reduce stress, depression and anxiety. This fun activity sharpens the mind and improves your physical health and can be done from the comfort of your own home.
If you are looking for something a little more low impact but still challenging and good for you, hiking is something worth trying. It is a great way to improve lung efficiency, endurance and lower blood pressure. Hiking has been shown to help in building stronger bones, muscle strength and improve balance and stamina.
Mental benefits include reduced levels of stress, improved mood and enhanced mental wellbeing. There are plenty of hiking destinations with different routes to suit your ability meaning you can slowly build up to doing more challenging hikes over time.
We’ve mentioned a lot of sports and exercises that can be done individually; however a great team sport that is affordable is football. All you need to do is grab a few friends, find a big green space and bring a ball and you can have a kick about.
Football is really good for your physical health too due to the fact it increases aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health. It can also improve your muscle strength, tone and endurance. Not only is it a good way to socialise which can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, it also improves teamwork skills, coordination and focus.