Sara's guide to getting fit in Newcastle this Spring

Posted on February 1st, 2017

Newcastle's park run is at Exhibition park every Saturday at 9am.

So January is over, and with it goes any excuse to ‘just finish off’ that last packet of minstrels, biscuits or cake knocking around in the cupboard. (We’re sad too, don’t worry). Fitness DVDs adorn shelves of local supermarkets once again, and healthy-eating cookbooks are inescapable. The rejuvenation of health and fitness in Spring isn’t as bad as it sounds, and if you’re anything like me, you could probably do with being a little bit more active.

During exam season, the most exercise I did was a begrudging walk from my library chair to the café for yet another caffeinated beverage, and it’s time to change that.

The thing is, as much as we all want to be fit and healthy, it often takes a lot of preparation, time and money to do it. Not all of us are able (or willing) to pay for personal trainers, so another solution must be sought out. Thankfully, I’ve done the legwork for us and rounded up all the best fitness options available to students in Newcastle.

1)       Newcastle Park Run

Every Saturday morning at 9am, when you’re no doubt in bed feeling a little worse for wear, tens of joggers are getting ready for a timed against-the-clock run around Exhibition Park. The friendly, easy-going 5k run is organised by a group of volunteers who do it simply because they love running, and they want you to as well. If you register on their site and bring along your printed barcode, you can get a timed result at the end of your run – perfect if you want to improve your running week on week. Follow the group on their facebook page and pop on to their website to register 

 The session is fun, free, and open to everyone. Best of all, the runners finish off their exercise by having a coffee together at the Café in the Park.

2)       Cycling

 The second option is one I never actually took advantage of when going to University, which is something I deeply regret. Trekking to Uni in the wind is never pleasant, but watching all the exercise-savvy students zip past me on their bikes with the wind to carry them made me feel even more bitter. Cycling is such a handy way to get fit and save yourself masses of time, meaning longer lie-ins before lectures are actually achievable.

Stop of at the cycle hub at the bottom of the Ouseburn Valley, on the Sustrans 72 cycle route. Tasty treats, coffee and bike hire and repair with stunning views of the river

Stop of at the cycle hub at the bottom of the Ouseburn Valley, on the Sustrans 72 cycle route. Tasty treats, coffee bike hire and repair with stunning views of the river

Jesmond and Sandyford all have routes which mean you don’t have to travel on main roads for very long, which is reassuring if you’re anything like me and haven’t been on a bike since your last one with stabilisers. A handy website to check out for cycle routes is CycleStreets.net , which plans your journey from point A to point B, informing you of the type of roads you’ll be on, the inclines and things like dismount times for pedestrian areas.

If you are really keen you can also join the Newcastle University Cycling Club – they  meet every Wednesday at 1.45pm outside the NUSU and membership gives you free spinning classes at the uni sports centre – click here for more info

3)       Yoga

This one is for the public-exercise-phobic types out there (ahem, me). Yoga is a workout which focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing – and therefore one which allows you to catch your breath at the same time as giving you a serious work-out. The stretching of your muscles and length of time required to hold each position means that after doing a short work-out a few times a week, you’ll be well on your way to crazy core strength. Yoga is the perfect exercise choice for cash strapped students, and there are loads of free tutorials on Youtube which you can do from the comfort of your own flat. I’ve done a bit of research and the least ‘namaste’ of the bunch seem to be Tim, (who also happens to be very pleasant on the eye), and Cole from Yoga TX – a straight talking, no frills yoga teacher.

The Newcastle University Yoga society

The Newcastle University Yoga Society

If you’re super keen to learn perfectly and want to check out a class, both Newcastle University’s and Northumbria University’s yoga societies both offer classes for about £3-4 – much cheaper than any others I could find.

4)       Gym

If you’re the kind of person who needs a treadmill and weights to feel like you’ve done a proper fitness  routine, then choosing the gym might be most simple and effective way for you to get fit. I’ve compared a few of the local gym’s prices to see what you get for your dosh, and the two best contenders seem to be the city centre’s PureGym and The Gym.

This gym is handily located by Haymarket, just a stone’s throw from both Northumbria and Newcastle University campus’. The main perk of this gym is its close proximity to the library, as you can’t pull out the whole ‘I don’t have time’ excuse. The facilities inside are super clean and roomy, student membership is 20% cheaper, and providing you’re sensible about what time you go, you can always make use of the weights and mats upstairs.

Similar to above, The Gym is located on Newgate Street (yep, right by Sinners), so you can make the short journey there from Uni before your brain has had a chance to trick you into Netflix on the sofa instead. There’s no joining fee, which is a major perk for the cash-strapped amongst us, and the 24/7 access and free classes mean there should be something to suit everyone.

Regardless of what fitness-regime you choose to embark on this year, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours. May we all come out of 2017 with Victoria’s Secret-esque bodies (or at least with a little less Christmas-chub). Until next time!

Sara x

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