The world is your gym

Bláithin Sheil gives you all the motivation to keep fit while avoiding costly gym memberships

Do you NEED to go to the gym this year? Is this the year you are finally going to start that barre class, and stick at it? Is this the year that fitness is not going to know what hit it, because YOU, yes you, are going to tackle it like a football in an All-Ireland final.

Read on, fellow fit-busters. Below is your definitive guide of how to make the world your gym!

1) Rule number one: Make it social. If it is not a chore, you are more likely to do it. Tie your exercise in with social events.

2) Rule number two: Write down your goals, and stick them on your wall. Right in front of where you study. This is a tried and tested method.

3) Weekend Hiking: Turn Sunday brunch club into Sunday hike and brunch. If you’re meeting your friends or family for a lazy Sunday brunch, add a bit of scenery and fresh air and do a walk! It doesn’t have to be strenuous, a walk along Dollymount Beach, the Phoenix Park, Sandymount Beach, Marlay Park, Howth Head, Portmarnock Beach, the Dublin Mountains, Ticknock, or Glendalough if you want to venture further, are nice additions to your morning out. And you will definitely have earned your food by the time the walk or hike is over.

4) Cycle: As I describe it, “I trundle into college, so as not to sweat too much”. I have been preaching the benefits of cycling since time began, and what with the current bus strikes, I’m glad to have an independent form of transport. It’s a guaranteed minimum 20 minutes of exercise per day if you live close, a nice hour if you’re further out. That’s your daily dose without even having to put on gym gear. Not to mention the euros saved from overpriced public transport, your reduced carbon footprint, and the fact that you are not held ransom to rush hour delays. You leave on time, you arrive on time, every time. Get a bike on donedeal for a bargain, or support Rothar, a shop that sells second hand bikes that are refurbished by people who need a second chance in life. As you can tell, I think cycling is great.

5) Gym buddies: Find a friend, hold each other accountable. Maybe a friend you don’t see often, this can be your way to see each other weekly. Make it social.

6) Play time: If you have cousins or siblings, play with them. Horse rides up and down the garden, sports day by turning their scooters into hurdles, race to the goal posts. Make your daytime babysitting job more interesting, for you and for them. Trust me, the time will pass quicker, time flies when you are having fun!

7) Get a pet: It would be animal cruelty not to walk it. A big dog will also pull you along when you are tired, like your mom used to do.

8) Parkrun: The world’s largest and freest fitness club. Yes, FREE! Timed weekly 5k runs in your local park, all around the country, suitable for all levels. You’ve got the studs who zip around in 15 minutes and you’ve got people going from run-walk-run programmes. It’s a family event, everyone is welcome, and it’s very social. The park runners at my local park are like a cult, they take over the café afterwards, having a well-deserved breakfast and chat. Sometimes they stay for hours.

9) Lunchtime runs: Run outside between lectures, you may be too tired or busy socialising in the evening, but if your timetable is not a 9-5 job, you will likely have some free hours in the day. Daytime exercise is a lot easier than night-time exercise.

10) Walk: Hop off the bus a stop or two early to get 20 minutes of fresh air before college, and likewise on the way home. That’s 40 minutes a day, done and dusted. Alternatively, walk around town on your lunch break, a lap of St Stephen’s Green starting and ending at the Arts Block is a good 1.6km walk, add in a few laps of the park while you’re there and you can easily knock out 5km during the midday sun.

Bláithín Sheil

Bláithín Sheil is a final year Law and French student. After a year abroad in Strasbourg, she feels more French than Irish. Loves to run. She is the Deputy Comment Editor of Trinity News.