Staying in shape is a great way to truly look and feel your best. Not only is exercise a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also a great way to beat stress. Unfortunately, in this hectic and fast-paced world, figuring out the logistics of an exercise regimen can actually be a source of stress—especially if you’re operating on a budget. And let’s face it: nowadays this is the reality for most of us. It is possible, however, to frugally build a routine of physical activity into your busy lifestyle—here are some tips to help you get started:
Work some exercise into your everyday routine- Don’t have the extra time for a scheduled workout? Take advantage of your opportunities and slip it in throughout the day!
· For short errands, try walking instead of driving. Or choose the stairs over the elevator. Or if you find yourself with a little spare time, take a brisk jaunt around the neighborhood to up your heart rate and put your muscles to work.
· Get physical with chores. Keep moving while you clean the house or work in the yard—a body in motion stays in motion, and any aerobic exercise will give a little boost to your metabolism!
· During relatively stationary activities like using the computer, cooking, or watching TV, take little exercise breaks. Do a set of crunches during commercials, push-ups during videogame loading screens, or jog in place while the water boils.
Opt for bodyweight exercises over equipment-based ones- Gym memberships are expensive, but so is building a collection of home exercise machines. Try out some of these simple-but-effective, tried-and-true workouts that require nothing apart from your own body.
- Bicycle Crunches—one of the most effective core workouts, and a strong core is essential to general fitness.
- Good old-fashioned push-ups—once you get the proper form down, push-ups are a super-efficient way to work your whole body at once.
- Remember to warm up for a few minutes beforehand and to stretch afterwards!
Find or make your own equipment- There’s often no need to shell out the cash for specialty exercise products—instead, make use of what you already have on hand!
- Use canned foods for handheld weights.
- Convert recycled cartons or jugs as heavier weights—fill them with water, or sand, or cat litter, and adjust accordingly.
- Garage sales can be a great place to pick up simple pieces of equipment, like free weights, on the cheap.
- Opt for the most cost-effective pieces of equipment—resistance tubing, an exercise ball, or a simple jump rope can go a long way!
Make use of facilities other than private gyms-
- Your local YMCA may offer equipment or even classes for free—or at least for prices more manageable than a gym membership.
- Many college and high school campuses have tracks, fields, tennis courts, and other sports facilities open to the public. Explore your area!
- Jungle gym structures can be readily found in many public parks—if you already take your children to enjoy these facilities, why not take advantage of them yourself and get some quality playtime in with the kids?
Above all, put a little effort into getting yourself informed! As you shape up and feel ready to expand your regimen, look online for new workouts—sites like http://sportsmedicine.about.com/ and http://www.livestrong.com/ are great places to get started. Find other ways to augment your healthy lifestyle: make your own protein shakes, learn about variations on the exercises you’ve mastered, and keep building towards a better you. You don’t need a costly personal trainer to tell you what to do next—for the savvy up-and-coming fitness guru; the web can be a nearly bottomless resource!