NHS exercise at home.jpgTry these cheap and fun gym-free activities to improve your health and fitness.

We could all do with a boost to feel better right now. Staying at home brings its challenges - especially when it comes to exercise.

But getting health benefits from physical activity is easier than you think, and it does not have to cost an arm and a leg.

Doing at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity is enough to keep you feeling fit and healthy.

With gyms currently closed, there are many activities you can do on your own that can get you in shape. And they’re free!

Find something you enjoy that you can easily build into your lifestyle or build on something that's already part of your routine.

Laura Hocking, West Core MSK Physiotherapy Lead at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Mental and Physical health continues to be very important both in the current lockdown and for our on-going health and wellbeing. Taking the first step, no matter where you are in age or fitness, is the hardest but best one you can make for yourself.”


Walking is one of the best forms of exercise because it's cheap and accessible to most people.

Increasing the amount you walk is easier than you think. You can make it a social affair by walking with your family or one friend.

Walking stimulates the cardiovascular system: the heart, lungs and circulation. It also boosts the endurance of the lower muscles, including the legs and hips.  

Read more about walking for health, including tips on walking to boost your health, making walks fun and staying motivated.

You could also try the free Active 10 app to help you get into the habit of walking briskly for 10 minutes every day.

Home exercises

Burn calories, lose weight and feel great with our 10-minute home workout routines:

Running and jogging

Running makes more demands on your body than walking, so if you're just starting out, you should build up the speed and duration of your runs gradually. 

If you're thinking about taking up running for the first time or have been inactive for a while, you may find running tips for beginners useful.

Thousands of people have learned to run using the NHS Couch to 5K podcast. The plan is designed to get complete beginners running 5km in 9 weeks.


Cycling is an aerobic exercise that works your lower body and cardiovascular system.

If you plan to cycle regularly, make sure your bike is the right size and the saddle and handlebars are adjusted to suit your height. 

As with running or walking, you can make cycling a social activity by riding with friends, family or a cycling group. 

For tips for complete beginners, see cycling for beginners.


Dance is popular among all age groups. It's a skilled activity, but most studios offer classes for all abilities.

Dancing is an aerobic activity that improves your balance and co-ordination. It's suitable for people of all ages, shapes and sizes.

Find out more about dancing for fitness

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