Healthy food costs too much money and gym memberships are too expensive – have you ever caught yourself thinking along those lines? If you’re worried that trying to get into shape will blow your budget, we’re here to help. The truth is you don’t need a fancy gym membership, your own personal chef or a big bank account to live a fitter, healthier life.
Here are just a few ways you can improve your health while watching your wallet.
THE GYM: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT
Gym memberships can be expensive. If you’re going regularly, it can be worth it – but if you’re going twice a week just to run on the treadmill or use the elliptical, you’re probably not getting your money’s worth. Besides, there are lots of more affordable options. Check in with your workplace to see if they offer a corporate membership to a local fitness facility. Look at your what’s on offer in your community – community centres or local boards of education often offer affordable fitness programs. Or wait for the next BOGO sale at the grocery store, stock up on canned goods and work out at home.
Remember: time is money
Take advantage of the “empty times” during your day to fit in some fitness. Waiting for the photocopier to warm up? Squeeze in some stretches. Watching TV? Instead of fast-forwarding through the commercial break, challenge yourself to a set of push-ups or sit-ups. If your kids are taking swim classes at the rec centre, use the time to walk the track while they splash. Getting 10 minutes of activity three times a day might not look the same as half an hour on the treadmill at the gym, but it still counts as your half hour of exercise.
The Internet is a great – free! – source of exercise routines and fitness tips. All you need is some floor space, basic exercise equipment and an internet connection. It’s especially nice in the winter – bad weather won’t tempt you to skip your workout when all you have to do is fire up YouTube.
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Health apps can be your best friend when trying to get fit. They can help you log your workouts, count your calories, track your progress and keep you motivated. Getting into shape requires discipline and changes to your lifestyle. Having your phone nudge you a little each day might give you that extra push that you need. There are lots of free or low-cost health apps out there to help you on your way.
Chances are there’s a community organization near you that could use a volunteer – and if it’s for a volunteer gig that requires physical activity, such as coaching a Kids’ Run Club, hiking with your local Scout or Guide troop, or hosting a sports drop-in for the Boys and Girls club – everyone wins. Even something small, like committing to pick up three pieces of garbage on your walk each day, can make a big difference.
Your turn: Share your tips to keep costs down while staying in shape in the comment section below.