New semester, new start – cheap and cheerful ways to get healthy
Many of us vow to hit the gym on 1 January and promise ourselves to eat better – but with temptations of fast food and the reality of late nights at the library; it’s not always easy to keep to those resolutions.
Thankfully with exams almost over and the prospect of your usual and normal routine returning, it’s actually the perfect time to think about how you can make some positive and affordable changes to your health and wellbeing this semester.
While it may be the end of January, it’s certainly not too late to get healthy without breaking the bank with our 6 top tips on how to do exactly that.
Shop around for a cheaper gym membership
Having a gym membership is one of the most popular ways to stay fit – especially as it means you don’t have to skip around a dozen puddles on your run. While there are lots of gyms to choose from in Manchester, it’s worth considering the price, opening hours, facilities and location.
Opting for a cheaper gym membership could save you upwards of £20 a month – which may not sound like much now, but over the course of a year that’s an extra £200 in your pocket!
There’s currently a sale at the Armitage Sports Centre where you could get 10% off a student 6 month gold membership with all fitness classes included for only £108 (usually £120). Don’t miss out as the sale ends on 31 January.
Get on yer bike
Even if you own a UniRider bus pass, using a bike at University can be a useful way to get around and it will help you to keep fit. If you don’t have a bike at home and are looking at purchasing one, look around for a good quality second hand bike.
It will give you the option of cycling into University on a nice day (as well as avoiding the rush-hour bus traffic) and will be a great way to get exercise into your routine. You could also join the cycling club, who welcome all levels of cyclists and make some new friends.
Have a go with Sporticipate
Fancy trying out a new sport with all the equipment provided for free? If so, get involved with Sporticipate! With a whole range of classes from breakdancing and badminton, to ultimate Frisbee and volleyball, there’s something to get involved with on campus.
And if you’re looking for some sport and activity on your doorstep, Sport in Halls provided you with even more free sport clubs including gym fit, salsa, self-defence and yoga. All the sessions are aimed at complete beginners, so there’s no need to worry if you’ve never played the sport before. There’s also no commitment, so if you give something a go and don’t enjoy it, there’s no pressure to carry on and instead you could try something different the next week. Interested? Check out the full timetable.
Don’t shop on an empty stomach
This is one you’ve probably heard before, but if you’re trying to stay healthy and save money, don’t go shopping if you’re feeling peckish. Every sugary snack will be whispering your name as you walk past the aisle, and you’ll need to resist the multipack offers on pretty much every item you said you wouldn’t buy.
It’s much easier to resist temptation if you go shopping when you aren’t hungry – so go after you’ve eaten and you’ll be more likely to stick to a (mainly) healthy shop and buy only what you need, rather than coming back with five Ben and Jerry’s and a handful of Pot Noodles because “they were on offer” and your bank balance will thank you.
Check out local food markets
For local and fresh produce, ditch the supermarket and head to your local market. You can get plenty of cheap fruit and veg, so it’s worth stocking up for the week. The Levenshulme Market runs regularly, and if you want to stick around Fallowfield, the Owens Park market is open every week on campus. If you’re a city dweller, check out the Manchester Arndale food market where there are lots of unusual and good value vegetables on offer.
Alternatively, why not join an organic veg box scheme where you can pick up your local vegetables (and fruit) on a weekly or fortnightly basis? The Veg Box People offer lots of fresh produce to help you make delicious dinners from as little as £6 (the starter/student veg bag). With this selection, you’ll receive carrots, potatoes and onions plus two or three other types of seasonal vegetables. You can even pick them up on campus by University Place or in Owens Park’s café in Fallowfield.
Your freezer is your friend
Sometimes cooking a lot of fresh food can bump up your weekly shopping price, but don’t let that put you off. Scrape any leftovers into some Tupperware and whack it in the freezer – over time the meals will build up and you’ll have a bunch of meals to choose from.
Freezing the food you cook will ensure you get the most for your money and waste as little as possible, making your pounds go a lot further. Also, if you’re worried about veg going off in the fridge before you can cook it into a meal, pick up a bag of frozen veg from the supermarket or freeze your own.
For even more advice and information on how to make the most of your money this semester, check out the Student Support and Advice website.