Exercising on a budget
If you want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? Just exercise. With a little creativity, you can find many ways to exercise for little or no money.
The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age or physical ability.
Benefits of Regular Exercise:
- Exercise controls weight
- Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
- Exercise improves mood Exercise boosts energy
- Exercise promotes better sleep
- Exercise can be fun … and social!
If you have a heart condition or diabetes, be sure you check with your health care provider before starting to exercise.
1. Take a Walk
Walking is one of the easiest and least expensive forms of exercise. All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes. Walking gives you a great workout that you can tailor to your own fitness level. Plus, you can find many ways to add walking to your day:
- Walk the dog
- Walk with your kids, family, or friends
- Walk to work, or get off the bus early and walk part of the way
- Take a walk at lunch or on your work break
- Join a walking / running group
Just make sure you are walking fast enough to benefit your health. If you can talk, but not sing your favorite lyrics, you are walking at a moderate pace. Start at this pace, and go faster as you get fitter. You can also buy a pedometer that will track your steps. Many will calculate calories burned and distance, too.
2. Create a Home Gym
You do not need expensive exercise gear and equipment to have a home gym. By making the most of what you already have, you can work out at home without breaking the bank.
- Use tin cans or bottles as weights – Make your own weights by using canned goods or by filling used plastic bottles with water or sand.
- Make your own resistance bands – Old nylons or tights make great substitutes for resistance bands.
- Use chairs and stools – Chairs can work as props for doing certain exercises, such as leg lifts. A low, sturdy stool can be used for step training.
- Hit the stairs – Who needs a stair machine when you have the old-fashioned kind in your house? You can create your own stair workout by walking up and down your stairs. Play some music to keep you going, and increase your workout by a song each time.
- Get fitness DVDs or video games – Look for used copies or trade with a friend so you don’t get bored of the same work out.
- Look for used equipment – If you have a little money to spend, you can find deals on used fitness equipment on social media, done deal or in second hand shops.
- Invest in cheaper fitness items – Buying a few small fitness tools can help you vary your workout. A fitness ball can help strengthen your abs and improve your balance. Use a jump rope for a great cardio workout.
3. Use technology
Need a little help planning your workouts or staying motivated? Use smart phone apps or computer programs to help you plan and track your workouts. Many are free, and some cost just a small amount of money.
4. Use Your Own Body Weight
Whether you work out indoors at home or outdoors, there are many exercises you can do that use your own body weight to help you tone muscle. These include:
- Jumping jacks
- Leg or arm raises
5. Look for Low-cost Fitness Options
Many sports and activities are free or cost little to begin with.
- Local Running / Walking Groups – Many towns have running / cycling or walking groups. Check social media / local bulletin boards to find out if there is a group near you.
- Go swimming – Find a local pool or lake and go for a swim.
- Try other low-cost options – Try ice-skating, jogging, hiking, volleyball, or in-line skating. Even cycling is affordable if you dust off an old bike or buy one used.
- Find a Work Out Buddy – Find a friend / family member that will help to motivate you and encourage you to keep to a fitness regime. Or find a personal trainer that will let you share the cost of a session with a friend or two.
Visit www.getirelandactive.ie for more information on exercise benefits and ideas.