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Cost of losing weight: Which workouts offer best value for money?

Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·2-min read
Weightlifting costs about £31 per pound lost if you choose a “vigorous” workout. Photo: Danielle Cerullo/Unsplash
Weightlifting costs about £31 per pound lost if you choose a “vigorous” workout. Photo: Danielle Cerullo/Unsplash

Brits have made 22 million visits to the gym since COVID-19 restrictions eased in July – proving that even during the pandemic, many are trying to maintain fitness. Or, perhaps, lose a few of the pounds gained in lockdown.

But with many feeling the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which workouts are the most cost-effective?

If you'd prefer to exercise without shelling out for memberships and sessions, stick to running, which costs just £10 ($13) per pound lost on the treadmill at a speed of 10 miles per hour, analysis by Ocean Finance found.

Cycling is also a cost-effective way to shift a few pounds, with “vigorous” spinning costing about £17 for every pound lost.

READ MORE: Coronavirus – Brits could be saving hundreds in lockdown over gym memberships

Some time on the elliptical trainer, ski machine or doing step aerobics can also be an affordable way to lose weight, costing about £19 per pound lost.

On the other end of the scale, although many may enjoy bragging about the amount they can lift, weightlifting is the least cost-effective workout.

Weightlifting costs about £31 per pound lost if you choose a “vigorous” workout, or a shocking £61 if you take it a bit easier, the research found.

Meanwhile, water aerobics (£46), calisthenics (£40) and cross training (£36) are similarly costly.

When it comes to sports, high-impact games like rugby and squash are the most cost-effective, at £15 and £17 per pound lost, respectively – further demonstrating the importance of intensive cardio on value-for-money calorie burn.

The most cost-effective gym workouts. Chart: Ocean Finance
The most cost-effective gym workouts. Chart: Ocean Finance

READ MORE: Coronavirus – Exercise equipment sales spike 5,800% as Brits cancel gym memberships

Basketball and hockey follow closely behind, both costing about £19 for every pound lost.

And tennis, at a cost of about £25 per pound lost, rounds out the top five.

Meanwhile, less rigorous activities, such as horseback riding – which costs a whopping £365 per pound lost – and golf – at £121 – fall short, the research found.

Despite the growing popularity of yoga, it offers some of the least value for money, with the average price of £11 per one-hour) session quickly adding up to £134 per pound lost.

In fact, at a cost of £112 per pound lost, it's ever-so-slightly cheaper to go 10-pin-bowling to burn calories.

Watch: Coronavirus: Boris Johnson reveals new COVID-19 rules on face masks, fines, pubs and working from home