When exactly did working out become so expensive?

We’re not just talking about cult favourites like Reformer Pilates or F45, memberships for which are notoriously expensive, ranging from $50-$75/week. Even standard gyms are charging upwards of $20/week nowadays, with add-ons like 24-hour access forcing members to fork out even more cash. And don’t even get us started on kids’ sports fees.

For most of us, it’s a price we’re willing to pay – feeling motivated, strong and confident is priceless, right?

But, new research from St. George Bank has found that Australians are spending exorbitant amounts on getting and staying fit, happily (or blindly) sacrificing their savings for their health.

Australians are spending up to $250/month on fitness and health products, with 100% of those surveyed saying they’ve bought health products or fitness memberships in the last month.

Seven to 10 Australian’s said they embrace health and fitness trends by splurging at the vitamin counter, while half of those surveyed are regularly buying activewear. 45% invested in a gym membership.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In the face of Australia’s obesity crisis, focusing on healthy living isn’t just a luxury – it’s a necessity. But, should it be costing us quite so much?

Ross Miller, General Manager St. George Bank, is encouraging more Aussies to ensure these costs are factored into their everyday budget, to avoid falling behind on their financial goals.

“While it’s great to see a focus on physical wellbeing, it’s very important to balance this with financial wellbeing,” says Ross. “Ensuring you have a budget in place for your physical wellbeing goals means you’re much better placed to retain your healthy habits throughout the entire year – not just for a few months.”

Only 42% of those surveyed said they budget specifically for health and fitness products, and 20% admitted that they blow their budget. Two in 10 Aussies surveyed said they regularly over-spend on fitness trends and, after scrolling through social media, three in 10 admitted they’re influenced to spend more.

For parents, the struggle between choosing fitness or finances is all too familiar

At the end of last year, the Australian Sporting Commission revealed that Australians are spending nearly $11 billion a year on sports and physical activity participation fees. For some Australian families, having their children participate in sport – including fees, uniforms, equipment, transport and other costs – can add up to $1500, per person, per season.

To get involved with soccer, for example – the second most popular organised sport for boys – parents would be looking at up to $440 at Runaway Bay, up to $460 at Wynnum and up to $280 at Sunnybank. Then, there are the non-negotiables like uniforms, mouth guards, shin pads and other equipment, as well as transport and other surprise costs throughout the season. And we can’t forget those half-time oranges.

Even with the introduction of programs like the QLD Government’s Get Started initiative – which offers $150 sports vouchers to families needing assistance with club fees – the overall costs can be a huge deterrent for parents who would otherwise love for their children to get involved in sport.

What do you think? Are Australians paying way too much to stay fit?



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