Joining a gym isn’t cheap, particularly if you live in a big city. There are a few ways you can save money on gym memberships, depending on how often you plan on working out and your current location. Here we take a look at a few ways to save.

Gyms make a lot of money from the New Year resolution crown in January, tying them in to long term contracts while their motivation is high. Visit any gym in April and you’ll probably find less than half of the people that were there in January. For those who haven’t ever stuck to exercise for any length of time, taking out a 12 or 18 month contract probably isn’t the best thing for your wallet. Find somewhere that lets you pay per session until you decide if it’s the right place for you.

If you’re enjoying it, ask about a short term membership. Many gyms provide quarterly subscriptions, meaning you’re not tied to them for the full year. It’s always best to avoid a longer commitment initially, despite the monthly cost being a little higher at first. Anything could happen after you commit to a yearly contract – You could lose interest, move house or job, or even suffer an injury which would prevent you using the facilities. This is why you should always consider it carefully before committing to a long term contract.

Some council run gyms in the UK are substantially cheaper than their privately owned counterparts, so enquire about council facilities in your area. People with certain health issues may even be able to get a GP referral for a short term membership, as can people on some kinds of benefits.

If your employer has any kind of business health insurance scheme you may find that they will contribute towards the cost of your membership, as it can help to reduce the amount they pay for the policy. A healthier workforce is less likely to claim on private healthcare, so many businesses incentivise their employees to stay fit.

If you’ve never exercised much in the past it can be a bit overwhelming to just head straight to the gym. Get a personal trainer to show you some basic workouts you can do at home before you tackle the gym. You might find that doing some basic exercise at home, along with outdoor workouts like jogging or power walking, are enough for you. A decent pair of running shoes will cost about £50-100, or the equivalent of a month or two at the gym.

There are loads of places that offer free trials too – just don’t get pressured in to joining somewhere that doesn’t suit you of your budget. Consider your circumstances, shop around, and you should be able to save on your gym membership costs.

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