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Money matters: Get fit, eat well and save

By Jill Smyth

Published 07/07/2015

Supermarkets reduce the price of fruit and vegetables in the run up to closing time
Supermarkets reduce the price of fruit and vegetables in the run up to closing time

With the brighter mornings, the long summer evenings, and holidays on the agenda it’s an ideal time to start exercising and getting fit. But don’t despair if you can’t afford to join a gym or hire a personal trainer to put you through your paces. You can do it yourself without breaking the bank.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Looking the part

If you want to look the part there are lots of high street stores offering great deals on sport’s wear. Check out your local supermarket clothes section for running and cycling gear and some of the high street bargain and discount stores now even have their own ranges of fitness gear.

So once you have yourself all kitted out you are ready to decide which activities you will do to get yourself into shape.

Exercise Choice

Gym memberships can cost up to £500 per year and can be out of many people’s price ranges. Signing up to a year long contract can seem a great idea at the time, until you realise that you don’t actually enjoy going to the gym or you don’t have the time to commit to it.  There are lots of cheaper alternatives to the gym which will all do the same job

- If you are a runner or would like to start why not check and see if your local park offers a weekly park run or a jogging club. This is a great way to keep fit, get some fresh air and meet like-minded people

- Take up power walking – all you need is a good pair of walking shoes/trainers, plan a safe route, and if you have a pedometer, you can track how many steps you have done and how many calories you have burnt.

- Buy an exercise DVD and do it yourself - with so many celebs losing weight and releasing their secrets, there are loads to choose from

- Cycling has become very popular and is a great way to get out and enjoy the fresh air. Bike to work schemes offer affordable options so why not check these out. Alternatively look out for second hand bikes on local buy and sell sites – all they need is a good scrub and some oil and you are ready to go.

Along with exercising, you also need a healthy well-balanced diet. But buying lean cuts of meat or fish and fresh fruit and vegetables can be expensive, so here are a few ideas to keep costs down:

- Supermarkets reduce the price of fruit and vegetables in the run up to closing time. Why not buy a selection of vegetables and use them to make a big pot of soup which you can divide into portions and freeze?

- Smoothies and juices are a popular way of getting your ‘five a day’. Bags of frozen berries or fruit and own-brand yogurts are a cheap alternative to the expensive ready-made options

- Frozen foods are every bit as nutritious as fresh and can be much cheaper.

- Buy own brand products as they are usually much cheaper and just as good; in many cases the only difference is the packaging

MoneySense is a free, independent programme by Ulster Bank for schools and parents covering topics including banking, borrowing, budgeting and running a small business.

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