Fitness

6 cheap and easy activities that keep you fit

Exercise doesn't always need to be intense and costly.

If you, like many others, begin the New Year by proclaiming you want to start living a more active life, chances are you'll start researching the local gyms in your area.

However, increasing your activity levels doesn't need to mean signing up for rigorous gym classes (particularly during summer!), it can be as simple as increasing the intensity of some of your day-to-day activities.

Lizzy Williamson, personal trainer and author of Two Minute Moves says during the day we often have chances to move around or exercise but this usually falls to the bottom of our to-do lists.

"Modern life may have left us too busy to exercise, it's also made it much easier to get through the day without moving nearly as much as our ancestors did," says Williamson.

"As we no longer use our bodies as they have evolved to be used, we are seeing incredibly negative consequences for our vitality and health.

"Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death in New Zealand, with Kiwi women five times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer, but regular movement helps control heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight."

Improving your health and fitness can be done in many ways - and Williamson says your body doesn't care if this is done at a gym or by other means, the bottom line is that you are moving.

"A change of mindset when it comes to exercise can do wonders for our physical and mental health. Our bodies are designed to move and they don't care if instead of a visit to the gym, you have an invigorating sweep of your floor, a dance-off in your living room or squats with your laundry basket.

"There are so many little moments you can choose to get your body moving more that will boost the oxygen flowing to your muscles (creating more energy), burn energy (increasing metabolism), clear glucose (reducing risk of disease) and strengthen your bones (reducing risk of osteoporosis).

"On top of all this, finding moments to give back to yourself boosts your self-esteem, confidence, energy and mood."

There are lots of activities that offer great health benefits - a lot of which are free.

In the above video we detail six fantastic and cheap ways you can strive to reach your health and fitness goals this summer - sans gym membership.