Everyone setting a goal to live healthier, get fit or lose weight generally starts out with lots of energy and good intentions. A few days and then weeks go by as people start looking into gym membership offers, and find that even with the special deals and introductory rates, many are still too expensive, especially for those trying to live on a budget. At this point, many would-be health enthusiasts simply lose heart. Rather than give up on your goals of eating healthy and getting in shape, explore better, less expensive ways to improve your life than purchasing an expensive gym membership.
Get on Your Bike
If you don’t already have a bicycle, the initial cost to purchase one may be slightly pricey, but just like high-priced gyms have lower cost alternatives, so do high end or specialty bike stores. Buy used bikes or end-of-season models to save money on your bike purchase. The two-wheeled fun and fitness of bicycle riding is worth shopping around for a bike in your budget. Not only that, bicycle riding is a hobby that you can turn into a lifelong pleasure.
Run Down the Expenses
Maybe less people run because it’s painful and can be hard to get into. However, it’s one of the easiest and best ways to get in shape. It’s also one of the cheapest. All you really need to run is a good pair of running shoes. If you have a smartphone, you can create a playlist to keep you motivated while you’re pounding the pavement and can download any number of free apps to track your mileage, pace and progress. Look for local, well-lit, popular running trails, or just head out your front door and try to go a little farther or faster each time.
Roll Away the Pounds
Rollerblading is another great way to get in shape. While it requires more balance and finesse than running, and a bit more skill than biking, once you master the art of this physical pastime, you can burn off calories at an amazing rate, and without all the impact of running on your knees and joints. All you really need to start rollerblading is a pair of rollerblades (even good used ones will do), a helmet, kneepads, arm pads and a sense of balance (lean forward slightly to stay upright!).
Using Outdoor Facilities
Many cities and neighborhoods realize that not everyone can fork out for a gym membership. They’ll set up facilities such as pull-up bars in local parks and, at some beaches, even weights. Make the most of facilities like this to sculpt your physique and get yourself into top shape for free. If these aren’t available, you can still plan your own workout at the park with calisthenics like push-ups, sit-ups and core work and a good cardio routine in the beauty of the outdoors and the fresh air.
If none of the above appeal to you, you can always take a walk. Anytime the weather is nice, head outdoors and walk where you need to go. Save your bus fare for a rainy day.
Ross Clitheroe is a personal fitness trainer and takes part in several marathons and triathlons each year. He loves the challenges of fitness.
Photo courtesy of: Kris Krug
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