27/07/2011 12:12 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Ditch The Gym: Fitness Equipment Essentials

Gym membership can be punishingly expensive. One in five of us visit the gyms which we pay monthly membership fees for less than once a month. So which three pieces of kit can help you ditch the gym and get fit at home or in the park?

Save money by working out at home. Photo: Corbis

You don't need to splash out on a treadmill or costly gadgets to exercise at home. In fact, just three key pieces of equipment will set you well on the road to getting fit without the gym. It's always worthwhile having a fitness assessment with a qualified personal trainer first, as they can advise you on the best exercise for your fitness level and body type.

Free weights
A pair of dumbbells can be used to enhance exercises such as squats, push ups and sit ups. Try holding a weight in each hand to beef up your normal squat routine. You can also use them for bicep curls, shoulder presses and a host of other arm exercises - no machines required.

Swiss ball

Try giving your abs a bit of a workout by sitting on a Swiss ball to watch tv or use the computer. Use them to keep your posture correct as you perform bicep curls or sit ups, and get your bottom and thighs in shape by putting one against a wall and using it to perform an assisted squat.

Medicine ball

This weighted fitness ball is great if you're working out with someone else, as you can spice up your workout by throwing it back and forth as you perform squats, or passing it from hand to hand as you go through a sit up routine. On your own, hold a medicine ball in front of you to add some resistance to oblique twists or front lateral raises.

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