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Money for Life work in partnership with the Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by government. Money AdviceService provides free, unbiased money guidance across the UK to help people make the most of their money.  If you have a question or need help, you can chat to them here.

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Exercise Snacking – How to keep active on a budget

by Alice Merry

 

We know that exercise is vital, not only for our physical wellbeing but also for our mental health. Studies have shown that exercise helps reduce stress and anxiety and increase relaxation and focus. The paradox is that when we are feeling stressed or struggling with our mental health, exercise can feel like the last thing we want to do. Add in a tight budget, and it starts to feel totally unattainable.

In fact, guilt around exercise can become just another mental burden.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are simple ways to work exercise into your life that are attainable and completely free.

First, research tells us that we should completely rethink our approach to exercise.

 

Forget a long run or a hard slog at the gym; scientists have found that small bursts of gentle exercise throughout the day do more for your blood glucose levels than a typical workout programme.

 

This technique is known as “exercise snacking” and can involve activities as simple as taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking more, dancing in your kitchen while you make your morning coffee, or quickly running through a few squats and lunges at home. You might want to start by simply setting an alarm on your phone to get up and walk around the room once an hour to avoid a day spent sitting still at your desk.

 

The key is to include a few short bursts of movement throughout your day.

 

Not only can these activities be more effective than a traditional work out, they can be done without any cost and with very little time. You don’t need to spend money on a gym membership or expensive sports kit, and there’s no need to set aside an hour in your day or travel to a particular location.

 

You can also increase your chances of sticking to your new plan by asking a friend to be your “accountability buddy”. An accountability buddy is a friend or group of friends that commit to making a change to their lifestyles together and agree to keep each other on track. It is a great (free!) way to make sure you stick to any new routine. In the case of exercise snacking, you might decide to walk to work together, or simply to check in on each other’s progress each day.

 

Exercise snacking can be done in a few spare minutes, almost anywhere and it’s totally free. Plus, with the help of a friend, it is easy to stay on track. Even better, a gentle ten-minute walk, or a few squats before bed, can feel much more accessible than a heavy workout routine at times when you are struggling with your mental health.

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Money for Life work in partnership with the Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by government. Money AdviceService provides free, unbiased money guidance across the UK to help people make the most of their money.  If you have a question or need help, you can chat to them here.

Launch Chat

Chat to the Money Advice Service
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm.