As 2012 draws near, saving money and getting in shape will be among the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, a lot of people think that pricey gym memberships, fancy workout clothes and expensive exercise equipment are the only ways to accomplish their fitness goals. However, there are plenty of cost-effective initiatives that will help you get in shape without jeopardizing your financial fortitude.
Avoid Costly Gym Memberships
Gyms, although popular, can be a huge waste of money. Unless you plan on going everyday and utilizing every piece of equipment and service offered, you’re paying for more than you’re getting. Most gym memberships require a contractual agreement, meaning that even if you move or are unable to exercise, you’re still obligated to the monthly payments. If you plan to join a gym, look for facilities that offer a one-month trial period. This will allow you to try the gym without making a long-term commitment. Also consider your local YMCA. Although the Y might not have all the bells and whistles of a fancy alternative, you’ll still be surrounded by like-minded individuals striving for physical fitness.
Avoid Investing in Expensive Equipment
Purchasing gym-quality equipment, such as a treadmill or a stair-climber, for your home might seem like an attractive alternative. But with technology changing so rapidly, the model you purchase today soon will be outdated, meaning it will have a low resale value. Plus, this type of equipment generally takes up space in your home. You can enjoy all of the benefits these machines provide, without losing space and money. Roads, sidewalks, tracks and trails make great places to enjoy a long, leisurely walk — or a full-throttle sprint. If it’s stairs you’re after, find a local parking deck and run up and down its staircases. If you’re looking for aquatic exercise, the YMCA is a great solution; if you don’t want to join, some facilities allow you to pay for a day pass.
Avoid Pricey Athletic Apparel
It’s easy to buy into the latest and greatest in workout attire, but it won’t help you get in better shape. Plus, working out means getting sweaty, so why waste hard earned cash on clothes that are going to bear the brunt of your physical exertion? The only piece of apparel you should invest in is a good pair of shoes. Go to a local sporting goods store or a running specialty shop, and have them fit you for shoes. Often, we think a shoe fits, only to find out it’s too narrow or too wide, resulting in discomfort and blisters, or even knee or hip issues. Having a professional help you with your selection will ensure a comfortable, supported fit.
Cost Cutting Alternatives
Here are a few extra suggestions for cost effective fitness:
- Rather than purchasing weights, lift household objects, like milk jugs filled with sand.
- Set up a morning or nightly routine that includes a set of old fashioned push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups.
- For great cardiovascular exercise, reminisce on days of double-dutch and skip rope.
- Join a meetup group, and go salsa dancing or hiking.
- Work outside on household projects such as painting, raking or digging to work muscles and burn calories.
- Check out DVDs from your public library, or go online to download instructional videos on everything from Pilates to cardiovascular dance.