Health and fitness tips that are good for your wallet.
Staying fit is key to good health. If you're on a budget, don't let the high price of gym memberships, personal trainers and fitness equipment discourage you. You can find enjoyable ways to exercise without spending a lot of money. Here are some low-cost fitness tips and ideas for healthy living:
Get a home gym at a homespun price
Shop for used equipment from online sites such as eBay, from specialty stores like Play It Again Sports, or from your neighborhood thrift store. Some of the best equipment is the least expensive: dumbbells, resistance tubes and jump ropes are all good alternatives to pricey weight or cardio machines.
Get a good deal on a gym
Check if your employer provides gym discounts as part of a workplace wellness plan. Then, shop around to find reasonably priced gym memberships. If you prefer to work out with weights and cardio machines, don't pay higher fees for a gym with a spa and swimming pool. In addition, consider non-profit alternatives to retail gyms. Many local parks, recreation departments and even churches offer free or inexpensive fitness centers and programs. And if there is a YMCA or YWCA nearby, be sure to check out fitness opportunities there.
Walking, hiking and running are all good for your heart, and the only costs are your workout clothes and shoes. If you're looking for more variety, try an outdoor "circuit", a mix of cardiovascular activities (such as walking or jogging) and strength training exercises (such as squats, lunges and push-ups) that require little or no equipment. You can also search online for free circuit-training videos. Make sure to check that the instructor who devised the program has been certified by a reputable organization such as the American Council on Exercise.
Fitness Tip #1
Need to run some errands in your neighborhood? Take your bike instead of your car. You'll save money on gas and parking while getting a good workout.
Get motivated for less
You don't need a one-on-one session with a personal trainer or a class at a pricey fitness studio to stay motivated. Here are some cheaper strategies:
- Get a partner. People who work out with a partner are more likely to stick with their exercise program. Schedule times for your workouts in advance; that way, you and your partner will hold each other accountable for showing up.
- Get music. Great music could be all you need to get your body moving. Tune in to an up-tempo radio station, or make a playlist of songs that fit your workout's length and intensity and put it on your personal music player or home stereo.
- Get videos. If you want that fitness-class feeling without the fitness-class prices, buy a workout or yoga DVD, check one out from your local library, or look for free videos online or on TV. The Mayo Clinic suggests picking a program that matches your current fitness level and is endorsed by a certified fitness instructor.
A health and fitness plan does not have to cost a lot. By following these healthy living tips, you can get or stay in shape without giving your wallet too hard a workout.
What's next? How to reduce your health care costs