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Christmas is a time when we don’t just spend more money – we also eat a lot more too. Cakes, mince pies, Christmas dinner, booze and parties all tend to take their toll. So it’s no wonder that according to a ComRes BUPA poll a year ago, most New Year’s resolutions are related to wellbeing and weight loss. In fact of those asked, the main resolution chosen was to exercise more, with eating healthily a close second.

Many think that the only place to exercise and get fit is in the gym. And although gyms can give you access to lots of equipment and others around to help motivate you, memberships can be expensive. But you don’t need a gym to get fitter. You can do this by using new and traditional fitness methods outdoors or by working out at home for free.

Here are our tips on getting fitter next year on a budget. Just remember, if this is the first time you’ve exercised in a while, speak with your GP before you do anything.

Use your body weight

Each year, there’s an exercise trend that hops over from America and soon catches on here. 2016 was the year of using your own body weight to work out and 2017 will maintain this trend with a few tweaks. Look online to find out how to do press ups, stomach crunches, pull ups, planks, side planks, mountain climbers – anything that involves pushing, holding or pulling your own body weight. This will help you to become stronger and more flexible.

Crawling is also part of this ongoing trend with exercises such as bear crawls that will have you moving like a baby all over again. Once you’ve built your energy and strength levels up, why not challenge yourself by creating your own DIY boot camp. The Army has a programme online you can follow – look it up and take the challenge.

Get walking

Why not get the whole family out on a power walk together? It’s a great way to relieve stress, burn calories and appreciate the outdoors. Perhaps you have a local park or waterway that will give you lots to look and at talk about while you’re building up to a brisk pace.

And don’t just stop at walking a few times a week. Try making as many small journeys without using the car or public transport and save on pennies too. If you can’t go without the bus completely, try getting off a couple of stops early and walking the rest of the way. Use stairs rather than lifts and you’ll soon see your fitness levels increase.

Increase the speed

If walking seems a bit too slow or you want more of a fitness challenge, running is probably one of the best ways to burn calories and get fit. You don’t need a treadmill to do this – again, just get outdoors. Just be sure you have some comfortable running shoes, as you don’t want to hurt your joints or feet. The NHS has a great podcast for with advice for those who want to take up running here.

Free gear

If you like the idea of using weights and gym equipment, you could always try to find yourself a second-hand skipping rope, weights, a trampoline, exercise balls or any other fitness gear to help you out. Free community sites such as Freecycle and Freegle require you to register and send emails asking what you’re looking for. But you will go and have to pick up the equipment yourself, so just be sure it’s not out of reach.

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