Lifestyle changes for fitness and financial well-being

Trying to save money? Then look beyond your utilities bills, commute costs or credit card rates. What’s good for your waistline can be good for your wallet too..? A recent Moneyplus blog from Standard Life shares some lifestyle changing ideas with fitness and financial benefits: how to get in shape and save money too!

The first idea from the Moneyplus blog is to start looking at your work commute, which can be pricey. Research from Quidco suggests we individually spend on average a whopping £161 a month on travel to our place of work. If you live reasonably close by then why not take the healthy option and consider cycling to the office instead of driving? The average commuter can save up to £600 a year, for example, by getting into healthy biking. The Standard Life blog suggests that it’s worth checking out the government’s ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme if you’re thinking of taking up this option.

Don’t want to bike, so could you walk to work – the whole way or part-way? Travelling by bus, tram or tube and getting off a zone or stop earlier than normal could save you money and help you to shed some pounds. In half an hour you can walk up to 2 miles at a reasonable pace – just one way, five times a week would be a good fitness regime for health and well-being.

Using a gym can help with weight loss but is not always good for your wallet. Lifestyle survey findings suggest that the average person wastes £300 a year on membership they don’t use, which comes to a collective £37million nationally. Try before you buy and look for budget pay-as-you-go gyms, where there’s no contract to both keep fit and keep costs down.

If you don’t need the social side of exercising, then consider exercising at home. You can naturally exercise using just a couple of weights and it is possible to walk and jog without using a machine, so there’s not necessarily a need to invest in expensive home gym equipment. Youtube has hundreds of exercise routines and instructors you can follow for free.

Your smartphone can be your gym buddy too. There are lots of free apps to help you become your own personal trainer – taking control of your own DIY health regime – and you can track your progress to help keep you motivated. Using these apps needn’t be time consuming or complex either. Apps like Seven – the scientific seven minute workout – which promotes seven minutes of exercise, seven days a week for seven months can be a quick, easy and cost-effective fitness programme. Follow on-screen directions, work towards goals and unlock new workout routines every second month to help you keep up the challenge.

Once you’ve started your lifestyle change – the money-saving walk to work or school, home-exercising etc – you need to keep your motivation to naturalise the habit so that you do it without thinking that you have to! Maybe you can make a small financial investment to track your progress and set yourself goals with an app such as RunKeeper which tracks running, walking and cycling. This keeps a live journal of your outdoor exercise and you’ll receive motivational feedback every time you go out running, walking or cycling with your phone which uses GPS to provide details of your route, average speeds, calories burned and more.