Stay fit on a budget
Gym memberships are a luxury not everyone can afford. And over the holidays, you might pack on a few extra pounds.
Fortunately, you can still enjoy the health benefits of exercise without the costly fees, and many can be done in the comfort of your home or while doing day-to-day activities, such as housework. How do you stay fit on a budget?
Here are a few frugal fitness ideas.
TELEVISION: There are plenty of fitness shows on television. Check your local programming for Exercise TV (www.exercisetv.tv) and FitTV (www.fittv.com). At the very least, do a few sit-ups, ride a stationary bike, or sit on a stability ball while watching your favorite shows. Or do a few kickbacks, crunches or squats, or walk or march in place during commercials.
VIDEOS: Borrow DVDs from your local library or download routines onto your computer or iPod from www.myyogaonline.com or iTunes, and www.coolrunning.com has a couch-to-5k program that gives beginner runners a routine. Don't forget to look for fitness videos at thrift stores, garage sales, eBay, Freecycle and Craigslist, too. MAGAZINES: Go to the library, and photocopy exercise routines from fitness magazines, or raid magazines from family and friends. One reader, Gina in Massachusetts, shares: "I've been tearing out the routines from magazines for a few months now. I created binders of workouts for upper body, lower body and total body. I usually read the entire workout first, then I have it on the bench, floor or table next to me so I can take a quick glance at it if I need to. I have taped routines to the wall, too." Or visit Web sites such as Prevention (www.prevention.com) or the American Council on Exercise (www.acefitness.org/exerciselibrary).
DUMBBELLS: Pick up a kettlebell or inexpensive pair of dumbbells, or create your own. Use stockpiled items such as bags of sugar or canned goods, or fill empty milk jugs with sand.
COMPANY SUPPORT: Ask whether your company offers health and wellness programs.