The economics of fitness


New research by Bristol University has found eight out of 10 people do not do enough to keep fit. The research also found social and economic reasons were often factors of determining how likely people are to exercise.

The fitness industry is one of the fastest growing industries, however it can often prove expensive. Gym memberships can range from over £100 per month to a more affordable pay-as-you-go scheme. The cost of the kit we all wear to the gym and supplements ranging from £30 to £100 (depending on what you take) all adds up!

So what can we do about this?

  • Train in the park (there’s been a real emergence of Parkour and outdoor bootcamps recently, it’s definitely something to look into)
  • Do what you enjoy – if you enjoy dancing, dance. If you enjoy running, run. If you enjoy lifting, lift
  • Commit to a balanced diet and consult a GP if you are concerned or feel you need supplementation 

Here is a selection of 50 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere by Laura Schwecherl.  Laura is Growth Director at Greatist, a leading health and fitness website.

Clock Lunge: Time for a challenge. Complete a traditional forward lunge, then take a big step to the right and lunge again. Finish off the semicircle with a backwards lunge, then return to standing. And all that’s one rep! Aim for 10 reps and then switch legs.

Squat Reach and Jump: Ready to add some pizzazz (and cardio!) to that squat? Perform a normal squat, but immediately jump up, reaching the arms straight overhead. Aim for 15 reps, taking a quick breather before the next set.

Standard Push-Up: There’s a reason this one’s a classic. With hands shoulder-width apart, keep the feet flexed at hip distance, and tighten the core. Bend the elbows until the chest reaches the ground, and then push back up (make sure to keep the elbows tucked close to the body). That’s one!

Superman: Want some superpowers? Lie face down with arms and legs extended. Keeping the torso as still as possible, simultaneously raise the arms and legs to form a small curve in the body. Cape optional.

Mountain Climber: Starting on your hands and knees, bring the left foot forward directly under the chest while straightening the right leg. Keeping the hands on the ground and core tight, jump and switch legs. The left leg should now be extended behind the body with the right knee forward. Next up? Everest.

Shoulder Stabilization Series (I, Y, T, W O): OK, it may look crazy, but stay with us. Lie down on your stomach with arms extended overhead and palms facing each other. Move the arms into each letter formation. (Gimme a Y, you know you want to!).

Segmental Rotation: Target those obliques. Lying on your back with your knees bent and core tight, let the knees fall gradually to the left (feeling a good stretch). Hold for five seconds, return to center, and repeat on the right side.

Russian Twist: Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet together, lifted a few inches off the floor. With the back at a 45-degree angle from the ground, move the arms from one side to another in a twisting motion. Here, slow and steady wins the race: The slower the twist, the deeper the burn. Feel like a fitness czar yet?

We all need to encourage everyone to keep fit, no matter what their economic background is, and fight obesity.

Take a look at the full list of Laura Schwecherl’s bodyweight exercises here .

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4 responses to “The economics of fitness

  1. Please can you provide a citation for the research at Bristol – it would be interesting to know what the social and economic reasons were, and whether the links to the fitness industry are made explicitly.

    Like the exercise suggestions!


  2. I think this is it Alex – so important to read the research not just the catchy headlines

  3. This report refers to recreational physical activity. The writers concede that: “The survey covers a wide range of recreational activities (including gardening) but does not ask explicitly about occupational physical activity or housework…..” (in a previous survey) “when occupational physical activity was included, men in manual jobs were more likely to meet government targets than those in nonmanual jobs. Similar patterns were observed for women. This omission means that our data may lead us to under-estimate the amount of physical activity and possibly also over-estimate the SEP gradient in total physical activity”

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