The basic idea of becoming and staying fit is quite simple: it should be reasonable, regular and rewarding (i.e., fun!). It need not be expensive.
“Reasonable” means it should not exhaust you, nor should it be so easy that you don’t pay attention to what you are doing. There should be cardiovascular, strengthening and endurance aspects for a well-rounded fitness routine.
An easy, accessible and cheap method of cardio is riding a bicycle or walking as a mode of transportation. Even vélos (€18/year) count, especially if, like me, you frequently get vélos where the battery is dead. In such cases, you get cardio and strength training in one! Forgoing mechanical means of transport is cost effective, environmentally friendly and means you need to seek out organized fitness activities less often. Riding your bike or walking to work just makes sense, if possible (€0/year + bicycle maintenance).
My favourite cardio exercise is going for an evening power walk with a friend. She has a goal of 12000 steps per day; if she comes up short, we go for a quick walk. By quick, I mean I am jogging trying to keep up with her as we chat. It is free and always fun.
Jogging can be rewarding cardio as well as aerobics classes (communal classes are around €12), swimming (e.g., €220/year at PiDAL) and ice-skating (max €90 for a season’s pass), or joining a sports club. There are numerous “fitness parkours” around the country which are free and well used. My favourite is in Walferdange and is a short 4.5km, with a lovely playground at the parking lot, so the kids can play at the end while a parent can sprint around for a second time.
Joining a fitness club
In Luxembourg there is a sport club for everyone – including wheelchair athletes and other special groups. To join a club you will be welcome to try it out, but once you commit you will need to pass a physical by your doctor that is not covered by CNS. However, the clubs are all reasonably priced (e.g., the Fencing club is €250/year) and a really good way to meet people with common interests, increasing the fun factor.
Another fun activity good for cardio and endurance are the Randonnées organized by different clubs. Walk, hike or mountain bike a planned route for about €7 (including snacks) it is a wonderful way to experience the beauty of Luxembourg.
Looking for a free alternative?
Many communes have gyms but you don’t need to go to one to do strengthening exercises. There are eight free outdoor gyms within Luxembourg Ville and more in other communes. Any weight-bearing exercise is strengthening, so yoga, pilates and dance classes will also contribute to your strength and endurance.
For women, strength training is especially important to maintain bone density. Sports pour Tous (max €110/term for VdL residents) is an amazing organization of low-cost activities both indoor and outdoor for every level of fitness and possible interest, including parent-and-toddler fitness which I highly recommend. The new season starts in April, so now is the time to check out the classes that you are interested in order to sign up for the next season. If there is room in the class, they are happy for you to try before you buy.
Find a fitness buddy
People make fitness fun. The right teacher and/or the right company make you want to go back. Friskis and Svettis (€195/year) is a volunteer-run organization that specialises in group fitness for all levels with a smile. Personally, I can really recommend a fitness buddy as a motivation tool. I help my friend meet her fitness goals and I really appreciate spending quality time with her. Likewise, I appreciate her disregard of my “allergy” to rain so thanks to her I occasionally breathe fresh air. Win/win!
With so many reasonably priced options, there is no room for excuses. Find your fitness community today!