We can all find it hard to make time and to put money aside to keep fit, but there are many benefits to staying healthy and keeping fit, both for our bodies and minds. It doesn’t have to be expensive.  Every little bit of effort can help you attain your goals so we’ve put together a few ideas that might save you cash if you’re thinking of kick starting your get fit promise. You can do  it!

Find a fitness buddy

Lots of people find it easier to keep fit and keep going if they have a buddy to motivate them and be their second conscience. When you feel like dipping out, they’ll encourage you and vice versa. Try to pencil in joint workout sessions and arrange to meet at the gym or pool to reduce the chance of you not going or quitting. You’ll be less likely to dodge a session or miss a run if your friends are depending on you to work out with them.

Don’t spend on the latest sports fashion or kit

First of all check what you’ve already got, can re-purpose or lend before you buy any new fitness threads and don’t be tempted by the current collections. So what if you run in last season’s colour? Plenty of outlets including TK Maxx and Sports Direct stock sportswear lines that won’t break the bank. Shop savvy and have a good rummage in the sales, they are just as good for all your sporting needs. If you do spend, make your trainers your first consideration.

Run on grass – not the treadmill

Most treadmills that you run on will have a slight springy feel to them, it’s because this puts less pressure on your joints as you run, unlike concrete. For a reasonable alternative, rather than paying for a gym membership or buying a running machine, you could try jogging on grass. Compared to hard ground it puts less pressure on your knees.  Did you know that your muscles also need to work harder when you run in long grass?

Get in to the groove – before you splash the cash

Before you decide to join a gym, try exercising outdoors and in the house. Why? If you’re not motivated enough to do it in the house or take a run in the park then you’re not likely to do it if you’re paying £50 a month. If you can carry on for a couple of weeks or a month then it may be worth considering joining a gym – unless you enjoy exercising for free.

Use a no frills gym

Puregym has experienced a large growth in the UK primarily down to its low maintenance approach and ‘pay as you go’ options. Check out http://www.payasugym.com/ and http://www.thegymgroup.com/ for locations in your area.

While the facilities and prices are good you may not get steam rooms, saunas and the other premium facilities that you may find at other chains. This is great if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a gym but want to keep fit and still be able to go when you like. If you don’t play, you don’t pay.

Consider having a short term gym membership

The profit made by most gyms comes from ‘sleeping dog’ customers. These are people who sign up for 12 or 18 months and then never go after their first few months. Whilst paying for a three month membership may seem more expensive on a per month basis, you won’t be tied in to a longer term contract which you may not use in six months time. This is a great way to test your commitment and to check if you’ve got the time to make it pay. It also gives you some flexibility in case your circumstances change.

Public swimming pools

There are council or community run facilities in most areas. Try http://www.swimming.org/poolfinder if you need help finding yours. This site also has a membership option that’s free to join and they’ll send you offers and promo codes to enjoy too. Swimming is a great way of keeping fit and if you’re on a water meter you don’t have to worry about how long you spend in the shower. Most pools advertise their public sessions online so why not give it a go.

Second hand weights – but beware of the delivery costs

Don’t pay the full RRP when you can get weights at a fraction of the cost at Craigslist, Shpock, Gumtree and Ebay. These are all prime places to find weights and other second hand gym equipment. Just remember that some items can be heavy and bulky so buy locally to avoid high delivery costs.

Use your own bodyweight

There are a range of exercises that don’t need you to buy anything. You can use your own bodyweight with push ups or planking for instance. I bet you’ve seen a few celebs post images of them bench pressing their kids too – give it a try, it’ll have you both giggling too.

Free fitness apps

There are a number of free fitness apps available that can help you keep fit. Things like step and calorie counters can help you keep track of how active you are and what you’ve been eating. There are also fitness apps which help you create a workout, aimed at saving you getting a programme drafted by a personal trainer. Have a look in your app store for ‘fitness apps’ or search within the health and fitness section. As a start take a look at Google Fit for Android, MSN Health and Fitness for Windows phone or HealthKit for iPhone. MyFitnessPal.com is also worth a mention.

Don’t forget to put any purchases you make on Ebay when you’re done with them, and make your money go round again.