You don't have to sign up for an expensive gym membership to get fit. Make the most of what Melbourne has to offer from social running clubs, city-run health centres and public exercise areas.
We've picked out just some of the best way to get fit around the city for free or for a small fee. For more ways to stay active in the city, check out five great walks around Melbourne and the best day hikes out of the city.
Cheap health and fitness in Melbourne
If you like running, it’s one of the best ways to explore the city if you like getting pumped with other runners, join a local running club. Many are free or charge an annual fee, and are open to runners of all abilities. A couple of our favourites are the Crosbie Crew, which hits the Tan weekly for an annual membership fee of $60, and the Gunn Runners bunch who pound the Albert Park Lake track every Tuesday. No membership is required to run with the Gunn crew, but bring $5 for a post-run bevvy at the pub.
The Melbourne Healthy Lifestyle group offers free fitness classes around Melbourne, including Zumba classes and group exercise classes. All you need to do is register to secure your spot, wear workout clothes (make sure you wear layers, because, you know, Melbourne) and bring a water bottle. After the workout there is the option to join the team for a muscle recovery smoothie for just $5.
No wonder the Carlton footy club calls Princes Park home; the sprawling park just north of the CBD is a haven for those who love working out outdoors. There’s a 3.2k running track around the park with an adjoining cycle way, and outdoor gyms if you want to pump out a few sets on the bars. Bring a ball for an impromptu footy game, and eyeball the players when it’s training season.
For a discipline that you can do in your pyjamas, yoga is a very expensive sport. Studios are often prohibitively expensive, but yoga teacher Jessica Dewar wanted to make the discipline accessible for everyone. Her studio offers yoga classes for everyone, and you can pay whatever you feel the classes are worth (or what you can afford). There are suggested donations, but really, it's up to you.
Grab your best jogging outfit and head to the Tan for 3.8km of unadulterated athletic fun with the beautiful people of Melbourne. Passing the distance markers they've erected even makes it seem like a heroic feat.
Yes, we know, there are no waves in Melbourne beaches. But that is all for the best if you're thinking of moving into ocean swimming and don't want to get crushed by monster waves. You could join a fitness club with a pool, but if you're on a budget, just throw on your bathers and go for a refreshing swim just as Mother Nature intended.