Summer has finally arrived, but has your summer body? Certainly not mine – Due in part to the fact that I have neglected to go to the gym lately. To be honest, I’m not sure that it’s worth the 30 minute round-trip and the $50+ fee per month. So in an effort to save some time and money, I’ve been on the search for some budget friendly alternatives.
If the only thing keeping you from starting a fitness regimen is the cost of a gym membership, here’s the good news, you don’t need to join a gym to take physical activity seriously. There are plenty of low-cost alternatives that can help you to get in-shape without emptying your wallet. Read on to see what I’ve come up with!
Online videos. YouTube offers more than just cute cat videos- it’s filled with free exercise programs, including yoga, cardio-based workouts, aerobics, and even boot-camp style workouts. Make sure that the videos you choose are highly rated videos, so that you know you’re learning from a real pro.
Walking or running. Make a routine out of taking a brisk walk every day, whether it’s in your neighborhood, near your office, or even at the local mall. You’ll be surprised at how fast the results show once you make a habit out of this additional cardio. One thing that I love about outdoor cardio is that it’s not as easy to ‘give up’ as it is on the treadmill. When I’m running 3 miles one way, I know that I’m going to have to run the 3 miles back, often doubling the progress I would have made on a treadmill.
Make housework a workout. Mowing the lawn, vacuuming, raking the leaves or even shoveling the snow. These activities certainly increase your heart rate, and therefore count as a workout. If you increase the amount of times you do housework or miscellaneous physical chores, you’ll most likely see some positive results in your physical self (And you’ll have a cleaner house.)
Stairs. Stairs. Stairs. You should always choose the stairs over the elevator, or even make a full workout out of just climbing the stairs repeatedly. This fool proof cardio costs nothing, but you’ll experience the same results as you would if you were to use the step machine at the gym. (Tip: You can add additional steps to your day by parking farther away from your destination. This is a good habit to get into!)
Play with your kids or pets on a regular basis. If you have children, you shouldn’t just watch them play. Get in there with them! Join them in a game of tag, backyard baseball, or even go for a walk at the park. I enjoy playing in my backyard with my cat (don’t let her small size fool you, she can run faster than most people.)
Use household items as weights. Some great examples are canned goods- these can serve double duty as hand weights. You can also use a chair or step stool as additional support when doing various exercises such as leg curls.
Use a jump rope. If you haven’t picked up a jump rope since gym class, now is the time. For less than $10 you can burn more than 10 calories a minute, strengthening your legs, butt, shoulders and arms. If you make an effort to jump rope for just 30 minutes a day, that adds up to 2,100 additional calories a week! (And remember, the investment for this is less than $10)