Yesterday I posted about hiking, cycling and dancing as free ways to exercise. Here are another three I enjoy!
I would only recommend this to a confident swimmer, but have you ever considered skipping the pool and heading for the nearest beach/lake/river? Never disregard safety signs and only swim at a lifeguarded beach. For rivers, check that it is safe to swim before you jump in. (NEVER SWIM IN THE THAMES – Bleurgh!)
Swimming burns around 400-600 calories an hour.
Three important things to consider:
- Is the water safe? Water is a lot cleaner than it used to be in the UK, but make sure you check out your local river quality using the Environment Agency's map. Grade A is perfect, grades B and C pose a low risk to health if swum in, grades D, E and F should not be swum in. If the water looks scummy or full of algae, do not swim. Some rivers have strong currents, so follow any signs preventing swimming. For beaches, check the information provided to see whether it is safe to swim.
- Don't swim on a beach when the tide is going out, or if you do not understand how to escape a rip current.
- The water will be COLD at this time of year. Wait until summer for nicer conditions!
If you do swim at a beach, remember that the water is salt water and that you should wash your swimming gear as soon as you get home to prevent it rotting.
Think gardening is relaxing? Think again! An hour's worth of digging over your vegetable patch can burn 350+ calories an hour, and even raking or mowing the lawn can burn over 300 calories in an hour. Spend a warm spring day sprucing up your garden!
Another favourite of mine in the summer is bodyboarding. I LOVE IT! I'd go every day if I got the chance. You can do it without a wetsuit, but a cheap one will keep you warm – mine was £20 from Tesco and you could get one a lot cheaper than that! The board itself will cost £5-10, but you can use it forever! :) Very cheap boards are made of fabric-covered polystyrene. These might work for little kids but they are pants for adults. Get yourself a foam board!
Swim out to where the waves are breaking, then jump onto the board on your belly just in front of a wave about to break and paddle like mad! If you catch the wave, you'll shoot forward riding the white water. It's fantastic, and you can do it for hours without getting bored.
Safety tips: Only bodyboard when the tide is coming in, and bodyboard at a lifeguarded beach between the yellow-and-red flags. (Black-and-white flags are for proper surfers with boards that could easily knock you out if you get hit in the head - not a good idea in the sea!)
You'll think you're not really exercising, but you can burn 200-300 calories an hour without even trying!
Got any tips?
What's your favourite free or nearly free exercise? :) I hate jogging, but I'm open to anything else!