I’m an ex-athlete, so I’m all about staying in shape and being active. One thing I am not, however, is a millionaire (at least not yet anyways . . . ) and sometimes finding ways to exercise can be expensive $$$. $5 for adult lap swim, $20 a month for a gym membership that you only use once or twice, $175 for crossfit classes – it can all really add up!
Sometimes it feels like the only thing fitness fads keep skinny is your wallet but there are less expensive options out there. Here are my top 5 Free (or really, really cheap) Ways to Workout:
1. Go For a Walk or Run – It may seem obvious, but putting your sneakers on and getting outside for a bit it a super easy, SUPER CHEAP way to get some exercise. It’s not the most glamorous or trendy option, but it does the job and the view is beautiful! Plus, studies show that people who run at least 10 miles a week have less belly fat than those who don’t. Try using apps like MapMyRun or Nike+ to track your mileage.
2. There’s an App for That! – Although we all know too much screen time is bad for us, your smart phone can actually help you stay fit. Visit your app store to look around for free fitness apps. I personally use Nike Training Club, an app that allows me to pick from dozens of different workouts 15, 30, or 45 minutes long that are really fun. They have options for everyone from beginners to advanced athletes as well as videos to show you the correct way to do all the exercises. It even tracks how many minutes you work out and gives you rewards at certain intervals (like recipes for smoothies! YUM). I have also used a Fitness Interval Timer and a diet tracker called LoseIt!, both of which I found in the fitness section of my app store.
3. Pin It – Pinterest can actually be used for something besides finding crafts you’ll never do, food you’ll never make, and funny/ cute pictures of puppies! In the health and fitness section there are all kinds of links to exercise videos and descriptions of at home workouts. If you are a newbie to exercising, you might want to be careful trying out new moves. But if you are a fitness fanatic looking for new ways to mix up your routine (like me 🙂 ) Pinterest can be a great resource.
4. Blogs or Online Magazines – Check out sites like blondeponytail.com, theascentblog, dailyhiit or fitsugar. All 4 have lots of free, SHORT, crossfit style workouts with videos and instructions on how to do the exercises. I often find that the idea of working out for an hour or two seems overwhelming, so the workouts on sites like these that are 12-30 minutes long seem more do-able. I’ve done workouts from all 4 and have gotten a really great workout in a super short amount of time (I did an ab-focused one last night and today I have abs of steel! So sore . . . )
5. Exercise DVDs – These might cost a few bucks at first, but you can definitely get your money’s worth out of an exercise DVD. At stores like Target or Walmart you can find ones that walk you through all kinds of different workouts, from pilates to kickboxing to weightlifting to yoga. It can definitely be a plus to have the video guide you through the workout – it makes it harder to give up in the middle and you can watch them do the exercises while you try to do them. I personally am a huge fan of Jillian Michaels’ DVDs (the crazy trainer for Biggest Loser). She has fun, high-energy workouts and she helps you get through them by yelling motivational stuff at you through the TV screen (example “I’ve seen 500 pound people do this and SO CAN YOU!!!!).
As you can see, staying in shape doesn’t have to break your budget. Mixing up some of these free options can keep your exercise routine fresh and your money in the bank. After all, being financially fit is just as important as being physically fit. If you follow these simple exercise suggestions, you’ll be body and money smart 😉
It’s your turn: let me know if you have any good, cheap fitness ideas!