Finding the right exercise routine for you

When planning for long-term financial health, remember that regular exercise can have a considerable impact on your projected healthcare costs, as well as the cost of life insurance. Various studies have shown that regular exercise will boost your long-term health tremendously.

It can be difficult, however, to find the perfect form of exercise that suits you – a workout you enjoy that also fits in with your daily time constraints. Ironically, the multitude of options available in most cities doesn’t make the decision any easier.

This article will examine a range of keep-fit options and their pros and cons, to help you stay in the kind of physical shape that also improves your financial health.

Gym membership

A gym is an obvious exercise choice, because it offers a variety of workout options that cater to all fitness levels. You’ll have access to free weights and different weight machines to exercise individual muscles, as well as treadmills and stationary cycles for cardio training. Most gyms also offer a range of fitness classes like yoga, Pilates, Zumba, spinning and other group disciplines, presented by fitness professionals.

The social aspect is an important part of the gym experience, especially in group classes – motivation and support from others pursuing the same goals can help if you struggle to maintain discipline when exercising solo. If you choose a gym close to home or on your route to and from work, it will be easier to work a session into your daily routine and avoid the all-too-familiar scenario of paying for a gym membership you hardly ever use.

Choose a gym with secure locker storage for your valuables and strict access control – preferably in a location you’ll feel safe visiting day or night, so you can enjoy a daily workout at whatever time you find most convenient.

There are potential downsides to exercising in a gym, however. Membership can be costly and, as we learnt during the Covid pandemic, a gym can be a prime location to pass on water- or airborne diseases.

Gear-dependent sports

Cycling, football, running, tennis, surfing, rock climbing, golf, rowing, squash and swimming, among other sports, are excellent alternatives to the gym, but they all require specific gear of some sort. You need a mountain bike and cycling clothes, shoes and a helmet to take up mountain biking, for instance. Whether it’s running shoes, football studs, golf clubs, racquets, climbing gear, a kayak, a surfboard or access to a swimming pool, these activities all have start-up costs. Some are affordable to most of us, while others are only for those with big budgets.

The challenge is to find a sporting activity you enjoy, with equipment that you can afford. If you’re a beginner trying out different activities, it helps if you have friends who already participate and are prepared to lend you equipment until you decide if that sport is for you.


As with anything, the best fitness regimen is the one that suits your personal circumstances


Some of these activities can be enjoyed solo, so they’re a perfect choice for introverts who love the outdoors and want to soak it up while challenging only themselves. Others require at least one opponent, appealing to those with a more competitive streak. Some can be enjoyed alone or with others, as you choose. If you join a club, you’ll have access to the social aspects of your sport whenever you like, and you’ll also meet many fellow enthusiasts to give you tips and encouragement.

Before you pick a sport as your go-to exercise, however, consider 2 potential negatives. Firstly, activities that depend on high-tech gear like cycling or kayaking can start off expensive and remain so, thanks to the frequent need to maintain and upgrade gear. Secondly, some of the more adventurous sports hold a risk of injury. Apart from factoring those risks into your health insurance, you should also check that none of the activities in your chosen fitness habit is excluded from your accidental-injury cover.

Home exercise equipment

Home gyms allow beginners to get a firm grasp on the basics, while still offering seasoned gym fans the tools for more strenuous workouts. You don’t need the latest machines or expensive equipment to start – a yoga mat, skipping rope and small set of free weights give you access to a variety of exercises for both strength training and cardio fitness.

As you progress, however, you’ll probably need more sophisticated gear to meet more ambitious fitness goals. That could mean buying a treadmill or a stationary bike, or more versatile weight machines. If you love exercising at home, you may need to consider a savings plan or affordable credit solutions to upgrade your equipment whenever you need to.

There’s a wealth of information on the latest changes in the gym and fitness industry available online. You’ll find videos on platforms like YouTube that demonstrate the latest exercising innovations, workouts and post-workout stretches to help make your routine as effective as possible.

What’s the best choice?

As with anything, the best fitness regimen is the one that suits your personal circumstances. If you don’t already have a favourite workout option, explore a few of those mentioned above to see which you prefer. If none of these suggestions strike you as activities you could enjoy several times a week, try a hybrid approach until you find the right mix of exercise options to keep you interested.

You could try a home workout routine 2 or 3 times a week and join a cycling club to get you out on the roads or bush trails every weekend. A daily walk followed by some squats, push-ups, sit-ups and lunges, plus a round of golf once a week, is another option. Whatever exercise mix you choose, it needs to be stimulating enough to keep you motivated at those moments when exercising feels like a chore and you’re tempted to skip a day.