Committing to regular exercise is tough; between schedule snafus, low energy, family commitments or even iffy weather, many women face numerous obstacles to making fitness a priority. But don’t let your finances be one of them. Getting in shape doesn’t have to cost a fortune—or even strain your budget. Read on for some penny-wise ways to make exercise a regular part of your life, without breaking the bank.
1. Take up walking or running. Of all the cardio sports available to you, outdoor walking or running are arguably the most economical. For walking, especially, all you really need is a supportive pair of shoes to hit the sidewalk and go. Add a few key items if you’re a runner—a good sports bra, for example, and reflective gear if you run in the dark—and you’re set. Sure, you could spend a lot on flashy workout wear and complicated running watches; but you don’t need to.
2. Try a fitness DVD in your living room. Sure, you already know that you don’t need a pricey gym membership to get in shape. But the fact is, you don’t even need an expensive treadmill or elliptical machine in your basement. Fitness DVDs are widely available at discount stores and online, often for under ten dollars. Make a one-time purchase, and you’ll have a budget-friendly workout you can use indefinitely.
3. Visit your local library. Hey, who says you have to buy workout DVDs? If even that is beyond your current budget—or you just want some variety—browse your public library and check out fitness DVDs for free. (This is a great way to see if you like a particular DVD before buying it, as well.)
4. Use common household items for strength training. You don’t need to buy a set of hand-held weights to build and tone your muscles. Take a look around your house for free-weight alternatives: handled laundry detergent jugs, filled water bottles, soup and other canned goods and paint cans can all be used for bicep curls, shoulder raises, and tricep kickbacks. Use what you already have!
5. Lift your own body weight. Many strength-training exercises don’t require any weights at all—and that makes them 100% cost-free. Push-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunges, planks, leg raises, and wall sits are all challenging, effective strength moves that require only your own body weight to work your muscles.
6. Utilize your current environment. If you can’t access any sort of gear or outdoor space for exercise, you can still cobble together a totally free cardio workout by running up and down the stairs in your house, jogging in place, doing jumping jacks, or dancing to fast music. Be creative!
In the end, getting fit isn’t about the money you spend or the gear you buy. In these tight economic times, more and more of us are pinching our pennies and watching our spending. But we can all get in shape while keeping an eye on our bottom line—so to speak.
~ Shannon Hyland-Tassava is a writer, blogger, psychologist, and wellness expert who often writes about frugal living on her parenting blog, Mama in Wonderland (www.mamainwonderland.blogspot.com). Her new book, The Essential Stay-at-Home Mom Manual: How to Have a Wondrous Life Amidst Kids and Chaos, is coming out soon from Booktrope Publishing.