14 creative ways to get fit and save money
My fitness background consists of gymnastics, long-distance running, track and field, basketball, badminton, and volleyball. I won several events throughout my high school involvement in track and distance running and have trained with Western Canada’s best coach, some of whose athletes have gone on to the Olympics (while they went on to incredible athletic careers, I went on to the Internet–just kidding). In university, I took a few courses on fitness and nutrition with an award-winning health and wellness consultant and the host of an internationally syndicated television fitness show.
Here are are few ways to get fit without spending money on gym memberships:
Park a block or two away from where you are going. For example, when you go grocery shopping, always park in the farthest spot from the store. The extra distance that you will be walking will allow you to shave off a few calories, although you will most likely not lose weight.
Get a jump rope and see how long you can do it. It’s fun and helps with your coordination and cardio, all of which are important. Aim for 5 minutes the first time you start, but then try to get to half of an hour or longer.
3. Exercise at Home
Do push-ups, squats, swimmer ab exercises, and sit-ups at home. You can do them while watching TV and during commercial breaks. You don’t have to do a lot right away. Instead, when starting out, do a few. Then take a break. Then do a few more and see how many sets you can do.
4. Get Free Exercise Equipment
People sometimes give away fitness equipment that is taking up too much space in their houses. Therefore, exercise equipment can be had for free on sites like Craigslist, UsedEverywhere, and Kijiji. Take advantage of that. If you have the room in your house to fit a mini gym, by all means, that’s the best thing! You can get a Nordic Track (I have one) and a Weider Home Gym. Even if you might have to shell out some money for a home gym system, it will still end up being cheaper than a gym membership with all the admin fees, taxes, registration fees, etc. Read my post about why I don’t have a gym membership.
You don’t have to train to be the next Paula Radcliffe or Haile Gebrselassie (both at points held marathon records), but you can certainly jog in your neighborhood or on the local track. When I got started with running, I subscribed to Runner’s World Magazine in order to see beginner, intermediate, and advanced running routines designed to build up stamina and increase your distance and speed.
6. Stability Ball
A stability ball costs approximately $20, which is FAR less than some gyms’ administrative fees. Then, Google “stability+ball+exercises” for instructional videos and images of all the different exercises you can do with the ball. I own one, so I sit on it when I’m on the computer, and I do all kinds of ab work, in addition to exercises for improving posture. You can also find more tips on using the stability ball in the book Ultimate Core Ball Workout: Strengthening and Sculpting Exercises, which is not expensive and has had positive reviews from people.
7. Take the Stairs
Opt for using the stairs in your building. If you have stairs in your apartment building, use them! Forget the elevator! I remember reading that you can burn up to 100 calories per day if you take the average flight of stairs 6 times per day. When I was younger, I used to go up and down the stairs at my house while listening to music. I enjoyed it, and it was fun, so I know that you too can put on some of your favorite tunes and hit the stairs.
8. Run for Charity
If you are having difficulties getting started and keeping motivated, try signing up for a local run for a good cause. Running for charity is a beautiful thing, and you get the physical benefits for your participation. Therefore, it’s a win-win situation. The only cost to you is the entry fee, and you will usually get a T-shirt, not to mention the fact that most proceeds go to help a worthy cause. I’ve run and fund-raised for the Terry Fox Foundation and The Heart & Stroke Foundation, and I can tell you firsthand that both were some of the BEST running experiences I’ve had.
9. Workout DVDs
Purchase a workout DVD. They are generally not expensive, and you can learn a few great exercises. There are workout DVDs for all skill and fitness levels.
10. Become a Dog Walker
You can actually get paid for walking other people’s dogs. If you love dogs, would like to make some extra cash, and can commit to a regular routine, then this option is definitely worth a try. Again, it is a win-win situation in the sense that the dog owner benefits by not having to worry about walking the dog, and you benefit by making a few extra bucks while getting exercise.
11. Start Your Own Fitness Group
Get a few friends together and pick out some physical activities that you enjoy, such as volleyball, hiking, basketball, walks in the park, and anything else that makes you move. The best part about doing this is that you stay motivated because you do it with people whose company you enjoy. Workout buddies are great!
12. Be Adventurous!
Can you think of a physical activity that you would like to try? Now is a great time to start! How about rock climbing, skiing, rollerblading, cycling, rowing, kayaking, kickboxing, rafting, dancing, swimming, etc? All are great.
13. Play Fitness Video Games
Thanks to Nintendo Wii Fit, people can now get in shape while playing a video game. I have never personally tried it, and I’m not into video games, so I cannot give a testimonial or review.
Join a volunteer organization that helps disabled people find activity partners. It’s a great way to contribute to your community and get some exercise time into your routine. Such organizations match your activity interests with those of the person with special needs.
I will add more ways to get fit in upcoming posts as well.
Lastly, 101 Workouts for Women: Everything You Need to Get a Lean, Strong and Fit Physique is a book published by Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine, which gives people tons of ideas on how to work out.
I wish you all the best in achieving your fitness goals! I know you can do it when you put your mind to it.
P.S. What’s your favorite way of exercising without going to the gym?