If you’re not a gym person but still want to keep fit, there are many low-cost alternatives. Here’s what you need to know about exercising on a budget.
1. Remember: walking is free
A brisk walk uses around 240 to 300 kcals an hour and is better for your cardiovascular (heart and lung) health than a stroll.
+ Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk.
+ If you work in an office, use your lunch hour to take a brisk walk around the block or visit the nearest park.
+ If you drive to work or shop, park at the farthest corner of the parking lot.
+ If you enjoy the countryside, make walking your weekend hobby.
2. Take the stairs
Step up to fitness and take the stairs instead.
+ When you use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, you’ll burn up to 1,000 kcals an hour.
3. Try before you buy
Make the most of those “try before you buy” introductory offers. They can save you a bundle.
+ Look out for free introductory sessions to fitness classes and never commit to a 26-week yoga or Pilates class before trying it– or any class for that matter. If you wind up hating it, you won’t go and the money will be wasted.
See if there are any local fitness centers offering a free or reduced-price opportunity to try a class first.
4. Get the most out of physiotherapy
If you require physiotherapy upon the advice of your doctor, check to see where the physiotherapist is located.
+ Some physiotherapists work in fitness centres and offer free use of the facilities after your appointment. It never hurts to ask.
5. Get back on your bike
Cycling is an excellent exercise at any age.
+ Buy a bike and start cycling — it’s one of the best cardiovascular exercises. You could always rent a bike for a few hours from a local cycle shop if you’re unsure whether you want to commit to the sport.
+ Look out for second-hand bicycles at garage sales or online sites. Bicycle stores often have a used bike section.
+ You can also ask a friend to borrow his or her bicycle for a few hours.
6. Try home workouts
If it’s difficult to get to the gym or an exercise class, or you’d rather exercise in the privacy of your home, there are various options.
+ The key to successful home exercising is to be realistic about what you are likely to enjoy and therefore will continue to do. Otherwise, any outlay (however small) will be a waste of money.
7. Exercise DVDs can help
You can always Invest in an exercise DVD and devise your own program.
+ Older ones can be purchased for less and are just as effective. Stars or fitness gurus may wane in popularity, but the exercises haven’t changed very much.
+ Garage sales are often a great source of these.
8. Simple tools work
By purchasing a few inexpensive pieces of equipment you can achieve measurable results. For example:
+ A skipping rope ($5 to $15) will give you a great cardiovascular workout.
+ A fitness ball ($20 to $35) is a superb piece of equipment recommended by fitness professionals to develop muscles in the trunk.
+ Dumbells start at around $10 – or you can improvise with two same-size cans of baked beans or whatever else is in your pantry – and are perfect for strength building.
9. Invest in an exercise machine
The two most popular exercise machines bought for home use are the exercise bicycle and cross (or elliptical) trainer. Although these require more space and outlay than the equipment above, they will still cost less than ongoing fitness club memberships in the long run.
+ Exercise bicycles range in price from $250 to $2,000, and elliptical trainers run from $500 to $6,000.
10. Join a running club
Running is an inexpensive exercise and if you enjoy company, you should join a running club.
+ Look into sports shoes stores. Some will provide a discount on shoes to members of their “practice time” groups and to those attending a clinic.
+ Running clinics cost about $75 for up to 18 weekly sessions and provide instructors.
+ If you’re travelling in Canada and are a member, you can join up with a local group or get advice on safe and scenic routes.
Exercise is a great way to maintain your healthy lifestyle but you don’t need to join an expensive gym to stay fit. Keep your eyes out for inexpensive alternatives and little ways you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine.