The New Year is nearly here. Another year of promise and hope that the next will be better than the last, and more importantly, that you’ll be better off than you were last year. You make resolutions to be more productive, to listen more and talk less, to lose bad habits, and for most people, to get in shape. Whether you vow to exercise more, eat healthier, or lose excess weight, you enter the upcoming year with hope and determination that you hope will last throughout the year.
One of the obstacles you experience sticking to your resolution of a healthier life is the cost and hassle of going to a gym. Fortunately, you don’t need an expensive gym membership to get in better shape. Here are some ways you can get fit on a budget.
Do YouTube Classes
YouTube is a treasure trove of free online fitness videos that can get you moving. The best part is the variety of available videos. Switching up your workouts will help keep you engaged and interested. You can do Zumba on Monday, belly dancing on Tuesday, and vintage ’80s aerobics on Wednesday. Let’s get physical!
Take the Stairs
This is an old one but a good one. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is an easy way to fit in a mini workout. On average, you can burn 15 calories for every three flights of stairs you climb. If you take three flights of stairs at work, five days a week, you’ll have burned 3,900 calories in a year. That’s more than a pound just for making a habit of taking the stairs. If you work on the 30th floor, take the stairs to the fourth floor and get on the elevator there. Taking the stairs isn’t just about burning some calories, it’s about keeping your body moving and combating a sedentary lifestyle.
Bike to Work
This won’t be possible for everyone, but if your commute makes it possible, bike to work. You get exercise; you’re saving money on gas and parking; you’re reducing your carbon footprint and helping the environment. It’s a win-win-win!
Look for Classes at Your Community Center
Community centers usually offer fitness classes at little or no cost, and you may be able to find them at your local library as well. While you’re at your library, check out (pun intended) the selection of low-carb, low-cal, and healthy eating cookbooks.
Use Your Smartphone
The app stores are full of apps to help you get in shape. Get your own personal fitness coach in an app, or download an app that tracks your calories, carbs, and exercise. There are apps that’ll plan your workout for you, or you could go the simple route of tracking your steps, which most phones already do.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking lots of water each day can increase your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. It can also hydrate your cells and keep you feeling full so you won’t eat as much.
Go for a Walk
Walking is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get in shape. You can do it anywhere, and you can go at your own pace. Aside from helping you lose weight and get in shape, a 30-minute daily brisk walk can improve your mood, improve your balance, and prevent diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and Type II Diabetes.
Start a Workout Group
Even if your group is only two people, being part of a group with a single goal can help keep you motivated. Take turns coming up with workout routines each week for the group to keep things fun and interesting. Set individual goals and rewards for achievement.
Look for Creative Workout Equipment
A gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds, and it can be a highly effective weight. Sturdy furniture and walls can be used for exercises such as chair push-ups, climbers using your couch, and wall-sits (Back against a wall, feet shoulder-length apart, sliding back down the wall until you’re in a chair-sitting position. Hold as long as you can.).
Squeeze in Workouts Whenever You Can
Are you taking your child to soccer practice? Don’t drop him or her off or wait in the car; walk laps around the perimeter of the field instead. Are you cleaning the house? Put on your favorite music and dance your way to a clean house. Are you going to the grocery store? Park far away so you have to walk farther. Are you taking your kids to the playground? Try some pull-ups on the monkey bars.
Although supplement companies and designers of fad diets would have you believe otherwise, being healthy is accomplished by eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise. To eat more sensibly, look at when you’re most vulnerable to eating foods that are bad for you. If it’s breakfast, then keep smoothie ingredients on hand or make healthy breakfast burritos ahead of time and pop in the freezer for when you need them. To make them, simply fill a low-carb tortilla with cooked scrambled eggs, a sprinkling of shredded cheese, and some spinach, and keep them in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, take it out of its freezer bag, wrap it in a paper towel, and microwave for 30 seconds or until heated through. Is lunchtime your vulnerable time? Pack lunch from home. It allows you to control fat, calories, sodium, and portion size. If it’s dinner, set aside time on the weekend to prepare some make-ahead weeknight dinners. If it’s later in the evening, have healthy snacks on hand.
Getting in shape isn’t easy, but you don’t have to break the bank to do it. Looking for ways to keep your body moving without joining an expensive gym or buying costly workout equipment can help you reach your fitness goals without affecting your financial ones.