Exercise on a Tight Budget
As a writer, I sit more than I should admit. I can get awful cranky when I don’t expend enough energy. Especially, if I’m mentally taxing my brain, but not my body. Exercise is a must: It keeps the oxygen pumping to my brain, it makes me feel accomplished when I push myself to train harder, it keeps my stress at bay and my family loves me so much more when I don’t snap over trivial mishaps.
However, there are two things that stop most people from a regular routine. Well, three, but we’re going to side-step the mental block part.
1. The expense
2 Accessibility – no one likes having to drive out of their way to a gym
Thankfully, I am fairly frugal.
Okay, maybe averagely frugal, nothing spectacular. But because of that mindset, I have found many ways to keep my exercise routines fresh.
I took up running about four years ago. Actually, it’s more of a walk/run, the run portion being slower than the walk portion – don’t ask how I do that, I don’t know. I found a treadmill on Craigslist, which was a nice way to start until I realized moving from the treadmill to outdoors is much harder. My 12-minute per mile pace became 16-minute per mile. Talk about ego deflating. And the run outside took much more effort (please note, where I live there are many hills. Although, there are eighty-year-old residents who hoof this path faster so I guess I have to nix that excuse). But it gets boring running the same loop.
So let’s start there: If you’re tired of the same loop, mix it up. Just detouring down a different side street can give a bit more momentum. When you’re feeling up to driving, check out local parks, state parks, national parks. Hit Google and type in your city + local running trails. You’ll be surprised at all the places you never knew were there.
Other ways to track down good walking or running routes are to ask at your local running store or check out www.MapMyRun.com. People share their routes and the best part is you know the mileage before you set out.
If you prefer other forms of cardio, check out your local Parks and Rec department. My local P&R has Zumba, Step Classes, and Bootcamps. Most are held in the gyms of local schools.
Check out www.groupon.com they have deals on yoga classes, kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals, and many other active classes.
While cardio is great, strength can’t be over looked.
But who wants or can afford all that gym equipment? Gym memberships can be expensive, time consuming and a chore when you have drive to one, and frustrating when you arrive and all the equipment is in use.
First, body weight is just as effective for toning muscle as all the fancy equipment and gadgets. Second, if you feel it’s not a work out without some weights, go to Wal-Mart, buy the cheapest weights and stop making excuses.
Only know a few moves or bored with the ones you use repeatedly? Here are some fun alternatives (Please Note: check with your doctor and use good judgment. Some of these recommendations will lead you to suspect routines, if it doesn’t sound good, feel good, or your gut says no, listen and don’t do it).
YouTube has videos for strength, cardio, yoga, you name it. I will caution there are many hack videos. If you’re a beginner and someone opens with 100 burpees, for the love of Pete, close and move to another. Always watch your form. If you don’t know what proper form is, Google it. Pay for a one-on-one with a trainer. Ask your doctor. Just find out. A nice one that seems to care enough to give suggestions is the Low Impact Cardio Workout for Beginners.
Magazines. Pick your favorite: Shape, Fitness, Runner’s World, etc…. You can get old copies, you can buy new copies, or you can even check them out from your local library. Most have routines and if you aren’t sure you understand some moves, go to the website. Most fitness magazines have videos for different moves to make sure you are doing them properly. Runner’s World has mini sections like Weekly Workout Hip Extensions.
If you’re feeling cranky, rundown, or just aren’t fond of mixing with other people when you exercise, take a few tips and get started. You’ll feel so much better and save money in the process.