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Getting in Shape without Breaking the Bank: Fitness Ideas for the Money-Conscious

Updated on October 6, 2014

Strapped for Cash? Exhausted and Stressed? Don't let Fitness Fall by the Wayside

Given the current state of the economy, it comes as no surprise that many Americans are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Come the end of the month, after doling out cash for various expenses such as housing, utilities, healthcare, and groceries, we may find ourselves with little money remaining for leisure and luxury. For many of us, the ability to purchase a gym membership is simply not within the realm of financial possibility, and given the stresses of daily living, may be something that rarely, if ever, even crosses our minds.

We all know that health and fitness is important. Or at the very least, we possess an awareness that we are supposed to feel this way, we are supposed to value it. However, it may be the case that we allow other concerns to take precedence. We may reason that given the amount of time and energy it takes to sustain our existence. we are simply unable to pay adequate attention to our overall health and well-being.

Although we may consider financial concerns to be of greater immediate consequence than long-term health goals, good health is what enables us to work for the money we use to finance our daily living. Our health may be good enough at the present moment to allow us to meet life's challenges, but it is something we cannot take for granted. We need both health and money to survive. Fitness is an integral component of health and general well-being. If we fail to make time for fitness in our busy and stressful lives, our health will likely suffer in the long term. Don't let fitness fall by the wayside.

No Money, No Problem: It's Possible to Achieve Fitness for Free

It's time to do away with the notion that being fit requires large sums of money. Not having the means to join a gym or sign up for exercise classes is not an acceptable excuse for failing to stay in shape, as there are plenty of free and low-cost fitness alternatives.

The remainder of this hub will be primarily dedicated to providing you with low-cost and no-cost fitness suggestions. Search for ideas that you'll be able to incorporate into your daily or weekly routine. Aim to incorporate exercise into your schedule three to five times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes per session.

Not only will taking the time for fitness improve your overall health, it will also boost your mood. When we exercise our body produces endorphins, chemicals that make us feel good. Alas, believe it or not, fitness can be fun and pleasant! Try several of the suggestions listed below and discover which activities you find most enjoyable.

Although the thought of incorporating exercise into your jam-packed schedule may seem daunting at first, remember that dedicating time to fitness will have a positive impact on your overall health and will also be enjoyable. Use these well-known benefits of working out as a motivator to create and stick with a plan.

Working Out at Home: Follow Along with the Pros

Experience the feeling of having your own personal trainer in the comfort of your home by following along with exercise videos. It is no longer necessary to spend large sums of money to purchase workout tapes. There are plenty of exercise videos available for free online.

In order to follow along with workout videos, you first need to clear an area in your home where you will be exercising. Fortunately, most workouts do not require much space, so even if you live in a studio apart, making a large enough space to exercise should be feasible.

If you are tech-savvy and already own the necessary equipment, you may wish to hook up your computer to a television set while you follow along with these free workouts. Otherwise, it is fine to simply follow along from a laptop or desktop computer.

A simple search for "workout" on YouTube will yield thousands of results. Browse through exercise videos until you find a workout that suits your tastes and preferences and looks fun--whether it be a yoga, pilates, strength, or cardio routine. If searching through pages of YouTube results sounds frustrating, check out videos from one of the recommended fitness experts listed below. A selected video from each one of these exercise gurus is included on the right.

Recommended Workouts by Selected Fitness Trainers

  • Fitness Blender - Fitness Blender is run by Daniel and Kelli, a husband and wife team of personal trainers. Daniel and Kelli started creating fitness content in 2008 and launched a website in 2008 in addition to a YouTube channel. They are dedicated to making fitness videos available to the public for free, realizing that the cost of staying in shape is often a barrier to fitness. They have uploaded over 100 workout videos. Their wide selection of routines is truly amazing, and it is likely that you will find one you truly love!
  • Jillian Michaels - Jillian is one tough cookie and I would highly recommend her workouts for those of you that are already in decent physical shape. Jillian has released more than 15 DVDs since 2005. As a personal trainer, she pushes you to work to your fullest potential. Her attitude and pep talks will surely motivate you to stay in shape. Stick with her routines and you will develop an amazing, rock-hard body that will wow the people in your life.
  • Denise Austin - Denise's interest in health and fitness began when she started gymnastics at the age of 12. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree in physical education. Denise is extremely upbeat, and her positive attitude towards fitness is inspiring. Her workouts are a little less strenuous than the others mentioned, and therefore I would recommended them for those of you just beginning your fitness journey.

If the suggestions above are not up your alley, have no fear. As mentioned earlier, there are thousands of fitness videos available online, both on YouTube and on other video-sharing sites. Browse around an find something that looks fun to you. Remember, exercise should be an enjoyable activity!

Feeling Cooped Up? Explore the Great Outdoors!

Perhaps you aren't too keen on the idea of working out in your own home. Perhaps you need a change of scenery in order to get your blood flowing. If the weather is nice, get outside and go on an adventure! The are numerous places where you can exercise that are entirely free of charge. Plus, getting a little exposure to Vitamin D is beneficial to your health as well

Take a Stroll in the Park

If you live near a park, why not take take a little time out of your busy, hectic life to get a breath of fresh air? The wonderful thing about parks is that they are usually free for the general public to enjoy!

Choose a park that is well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing. A park with designated walking paths is best. There's something about the smell and sight of fresh-cut grass, tall trees, and a clear blue sky that has the potential to lift our spirits.

As you explore the park, walk at a pace that is challenging, yet comfortable for you. Make sure you are moving at a fast enough pace to keep your heart rate up, as this will ensure you reap the maximum fitness benefits of going for a walk. If you are already in decent physical shape, consider going for a jog instead of a walk.

Live Near the Ocean? Even Better! Saunter by the Sea

If you are fortunate enough to live near the coast, you may have access to beaches that do not charge admission. Oftentimes beaches that do require a fee only charge during the summer months, so consider taking going for a visit during spring or autumn.

Walking along the beach is an overall pleasant experience. If it is warm enough, consider walking along the shore and getting your feet a little wet. The feel of the cool ocean water between your toes as you break a sweat is extremely refreshing. Walking (or jogging) in the sand also adds resistance to your routine that will increase your overall fitness.

If it is nice outside and you live near a beach that is free, consider going for a swim instead of a walk along the shore. Remember though, in order for it to count as exercise, you must keep moving! Don't simply stand in the water. If you are a proficient swimmer, either wade in the waves deep enough so that your feet cannot touch the bottom or do some laps parallel to the shore.

Take a Hike!

If you are looking for a slightly more strenuous activity, consider going for a hike. There are many state forests and mountains with hiking trails that you can visit for free. Get in touch with your inner naturalist and explore the wilderness!

Before deciding to take a hike, make sure you are familiar with the mountain or forest you will be visiting. Familiarize yourself with the supplies you will need to take along with you. Look online for a trail map and plan a route that is in line with your current level of physical fitness. Remember to bring the map along with you to ensure that you do not get lost.

Unable to Stray Too Far from Home? Re-Acquaint yourself with your Neighborhood on Foot

Perhaps you do not have access to a reliable vehicle or have little time or money to spend traveling somewhere to exercise. That's okay---but don't let this deter you from making strides to improve your overall health and fitness. As long as you live in a neighborhood that is relatively safe, consider exploring your community by foot.

Taking a stroll around the neighborhood will not only help to improve your physical fitness, you will also become better acquainted with others living nearby. The occasional wave or "hello" from a friendly neighbor may brighten your day. Getting to know the people around you also helps foster a sense of community that will benefit your overall life. Having a healthy social life is just as important as having a healthy body. Just remember, don't stop to chat with neighbors too long. The idea is to keep moving!

Do you usually drive to places that are within walking distance of your home? How about taking a walk to the corner store instead of hopping in the car? Not only is walking in your neighborhood convenient, you will actually save money by walking instead of driving to your destination. Considering the high cost of gas nowadays, if you do this frequently, you may end up saving a nice chunk of change, all while staying in shape!

Still Finding it Difficult to Make Time for yourself to Exercise? Consider Adding Resistance to your Daily Routine

For some of us, finding the time to exercise may be more difficult than for others. If you are someone who works two jobs, takes care of the kids, and runs all the household errands, reserving time for fitness may be virtually impossible. For all of you busy beavers out there, here's one last suggestion for incorporating exercise into your daily life.

Purchase an inexpensive pair of wrist and/or ankle weights. You can find sets for less than $10, and if you are really strapped for time, they are well worth the investment. Wrist and ankle weights are a bit more costly if you choose to purchase them at a store that specializes in sporting goods. Consider purchasing an inexpensive pair from Wal-Mart or ordering a pair online from Amazon. Wrist and ankle weights come in many different weights, ranging from one to twenty pounds per pair. Choose a weight that is manageable for you.

Wear your wrist and ankle weights while doing household chores or while playing with the kids. During the wintertime consider wearing them while you run errands locally, as they will be concealed by bulky clothing. The added resistance will help you to burn calories and develop muscle tone. Although purchasing a pair does initially cost a small sum of money---you will be able to improve your physique without having to dedicate extra time to fitness!

Stick with it and Get Fit!

Now that you have finished reading through the preceding suggestions on how to incorporate fitness into your life on a tight budget, choose activities that look appealing to you. Incorporate exercise into your life to the best of your ability--even if this means you only being able to dedicate a couple hours to fitness each week.

Never allow the stresses of daily living interfere with your desire to stay or become fit. If you've made the decision to exercise three times a week, stick with it. In order to reap the benefits of fitness, you must make a habit of exercising. Keep in mind that your overall health is of the utmost importance, and remember, exercise doesn't necessarily have to be a chore, it can be be fun too! A you is a happier you. Best of luck and enjoy!

Comments

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    • profile image

      MJ 

      4 years ago

      I am so broke these are great ideas!

    • profile image

      MJ 

      4 years ago

      I am so broke these are great ideas!

    • days leaper profile image

      days leaper 

      4 years ago from england

      excellent!

      Please don't ever unpublish!

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