You don’t have to spend a fortune to be in good shape. Want to train but don’t think you can afford it? Think twice. Take the time to compare these inexpensive alternatives to the expensive gym membership.
If the only thing stopping you from starting a fitness program is the cost of a gym membership, here’s good news. You don’t need to join a gym to take physical activity seriously. You can find ways to include aerobic activity and strength training in your routine at home. There are plenty of inexpensive alternatives that can help you get in shape without breaking your budget.
These tips can help you get started
Take advantage of everyday opportunities
You don’t need a gym or special equipment for aerobic training. Any aerobic exercise, from walking to mowing the lawn, can have beneficial effects. Try to include at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity in your day most days of the week. It can even be done in small bursts of activity during the day. With a little forethought, activities you take for granted can become part of your fitness routine.
Step up your activity
Take a brisk walk every day, whether it’s around your neighborhood or a local mall, or during a break from work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or do a full stair-climbing workout. Take extra steps whenever you can by parking farther from your destination.
Make your chores a workout
Weed the garden, rake leaves or shovel snow. And indoor activities like vacuuming, sweeping, and scrubbing count as a workout if you get your heart rate up.
Play with your children
If you have kids, don’t just watch them play. Join them for a game of basketball. Take them to the park. Dance. Take a family bike ride. Go to the municipal swimming pool. Even if you don’t swim, you can enjoy time in the water or walk in the shallow end. Do your kids play video games? If so, hook up with them and play a virtual tennis racket or do some boxing.
Improvise using household items or your weight
Try to include resistance exercises for all major muscle groups in your program at least two days a week. If you’d rather not spend money on exercise equipment or a gym membership, use regular household items or your body weight for various upper and lower body strength exercises:
Many cans can be used as hand weights.
Chair or stepladder
Use a chair for support when doing exercises such as squats. A low and sturdy walking stool can become exercise equipment if you use it for gait training. An aerobic exercise resembling climbing stairs.
Use your body weight
You don’t have to go to the gym and lift weights to improve your muscle condition. Use your body weight to do strength and resistance exercises. For example, try sets of squats and lunges.
Consider a modest investment
If you are able to spend a little, you can find inexpensive products to add variety to your fitness routine, such as
Use hand weights to strengthen your upper body. They are available in many weight ranges, and some are adjustable to allow for a wide range of resistance.
Exercise DVDs and apps
Create the feel of an aerobics class in your own living room using exercise DVDs or online videos. You can also choose a program or app that will help you improve your strength and flexibility. Or one that will allow you to track the distance and time you spend exercising.
A fitness ball looks like a large beach ball. You can do many basic exercises, including sit-ups, with a fitness ball. You can also use a fitness ball to improve your flexibility and balance.
A kettlebell is a round weight with the handle attached at the top. The kettlebell can be used for strength training and to help improve grip strength. Kettlebells are available in many sizes.
Jumping rope can be a great cardiovascular workout.
Be an informed consumer
If you’re interested in a specific exercise class or piece of equipment, shop around to find the best deal.
Check with your local sports department.
Many sports services offer fitness classes at reduced prices to the inhabitants of the municipality.
Buy used equipment
Some sporting goods stores specialize in used equipment. Or you can check the listings of exercise equipment for sale in the local newspaper. You can also find great deals on used exercise equipment online. Just make sure the shipping costs won’t take you out of your budget.
Share the costs with a friend
Swap exercise DVDs or online exercise video ideas with a friend so neither of you gets bored doing the same exercise over and over. Find a personal trainer who will allow you to split the cost of a session with a friend or two.
Remember, formatting doesn’t have to be expensive. Don’t get caught up in memberships or purchases you can’t afford. Instead, focus on your fitness goals and how to achieve them without breaking your budget.