Trying to get fit in 2013? That’s a noble goal, but many are discouraged by the high price of a gym membership, personal training, or home equipment. Although those things can be helpful for keeping you on track to reach your fitness goals, they’re not completely necessary. There are plenty of ways you can improve your fitness without breaking the bank.
Let’s face it: we’re all living on a budget these days. Although it’s admirable to spend money on your health as opposed to dropping cash on fast food, sometimes that disposable income just isn’t there in the first place. But there’s no reason your health has to suffer. Here’s a list to help you improve your fitness level without spending a ton of money.
- Walk. One of the easiest ways to improve your fitness is to put one foot in front of the other. A good pair of shoes is all you need to get started, and chances are you already own them. Of course, you still need to dress for the weather, plan a safe route, wear some sunscreen, and carry a cell phone. But if you’re looking for a way to get your fitness routine started with minimum investment, walking is the way to go.
- Do calisthenics. If you’ve got a little floor space, you can do calisthenics. Simple “gym class” exercises like jumping jacks, pushups, squats, lunges, and crunches are all classics for a reason. It’s because they’re effective. A padded floor is helpful, but if you don’t have that, you might want to invest in a mat. A towel will do in a pinch—just be sure it’s not going to slide around.
- Climb your stairs. If your home, or office, has more than one floor, you’ve got built-in exercise equipment. Do some stair laps and get your heart rate going. You can walk or jog, always being careful, especially on the way down. Try jogging upstairs and walking down to avoid taking a tumble.
- Play with your kids. Whether you hit the playground or just chase them around the yard, your kids can make workouts seem like play. Kick a soccer ball, play catch, get up a game of Red Rover or Tag, or shoot some hoops. Time goes by quickly and before you know it, you will have worked up a sweat. And come on, what’s better than playing with your kids?
- Lift cans. Or bricks. Or laundry soap. Or buckets of sand. Look around your house and see what you can use to make your own weight set. Try doing biceps curls with a jug of laundry soap or large cans. You can use the same items for squats and lunges, or carry them up and down the stairs. Get creative and improvise.
- Use your TV. Do crunches, pushups or wall sits on commercials during your favorite show. It’s amazing how much you can do when you know you only have to do it for two minutes. You can also rent fitness DVDs from the library and try out a variety of workouts for free.
- Invest in some inexpensive equipment. A jump rope, a set of resistance bands, a few dumbbells, a pedometer, and a medicine ball will get your pretty far. A balance ball is another great option, but they can take up space, so consider that before you buy. But over all, none of these items are terribly expensive, and if you’ll actually use them regularly, it’s money well-spent.
Aim for three to four cardio workouts, at least 30 minutes long, and two to three strength training workouts each week, and you’ll be off to a good start. You might gain a little weight, but it should all be in your wallet.
Talk it up:
What’s your favorite inexpensive workout?
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