In-store exercise classes
In the same way as bookshops double up as coffee shops, activewear shops have learned to multitask as gyms. Outlets from Sweaty Betty (which has branches throughout the UK) to Asics and Nike offer free running clubs: check out their websites to sign up online. There is no fee, but you still need to book, and some classes are heavily in demand. There is no catch – and you don’t have to wear the brand to join in (although some people do).
I gave up the gym five years ago when I faced the fact that my monthly visit was costing me £80. With the first £80 saved I bought some discounted running shoes and a sports bra. I have been running weekly ever since. That might not be anything to brag about, but it’s pleasant year round and, instead of an off-putting commute to the gym, I now “commute” through the park and along the canal and then I’m back home without ever having needed to get anywhere. Couch to 5km is a great way to get started. After that, you can graduate to the brilliant ParkRun – they are free and nationwide, and there are junior runs too. It’s magical to roll up on a morning, be part of the gathering field, and run. But if running asks too much …