After five minutes of watching the latest tennis highlights on TV, you realize that these athletes are in perfect physical condition. That’s how they make winning the tournament look so effortless.
Odds are we may not reach the heights of the US Open. But if you’ve ever been encouraged to get out, get fit, get in shape – and every other cliché you can think of to improve your physical health – there’s no reason why you can’t save money while you’re pumping up and slimming down.
Bike, Walk, and Run
The easiest way to stay active and get in shape is also the cheapest – open your front door and go for a walk. Whether speed walking, a brisk pace, or a leisurely stroll, walking energizes your heart rate and costs you zilch…zero…nada.
You can step up your game by going for a jog or jumping on your bicycle, and the only potential cost you’ll incur is equipment – a good pair of running shoes or a new bike.
There are also plenty or reputable articles in health magazines and across the internet that teach you how to exercise at home without any extra equipment. Push-ups, squats and ab workouts while using furniture and your body weight for resistance make it pretty simple to stay in shape at home without spending a dime.
Borrow, Barter, and Buy Second-Hand
If you’re the type of person that needs more motivation than an open door and a sidewalk (raising my hand here), then maybe you’re in the market for home workout equipment or an intense set of training DVDs.
Before you spend big bucks on a brand new program or equipment, jump on social media and ask your friends what they’ve got lying around. Chances are they’ll be more than happy to lend you a hand – or a set of DVDs, or a home gym.
Just like vehicle depreciation, there’s no need to buy new when you can save hundreds of dollars buying good, used exercise equipment. When someone has finished their exercise experiment (not you, because you’re going to stick with it!) and they’re ready to unload their home gym, you can cash in by keeping more of your cash in your pocket.
Going to the Gym
For some of us, however, we need the gym. To stay motivated, we need to get out of the house, go to the gym, and workout around everyone else. Is it the sweaty smell of the rubberized gym floor that calls to us, or the post-workout rush? Nobody knows. But the gym can be exactly what we need to stay encouraged and stay fit.
Before you join a gym, shop around for the best rates and make sure they offer the equipment and the programs that fit your needs and your goals.
Ask about discounts, advanced payment plans, or any other specials that may reduce the monthly cost of gym membership. Sometimes current members get discounts if they help sign up their friends. You could split these savings with a friend who’s also a member, or you could start to sign up all of your friends and reap the benefits.
Intramural and Adult Leagues
Another super inexpensive way to stay fit is to join local sports leagues, usually through community programs or churches. It’s like intramural sports for grown-ups.
Not only can you stay active by playing basketball, softball, or flag football a few times a week, but you also have a chance to relive your former glory from when you dominated in high school. Just be careful, your body is a little older now.
Think outside the box when it comes to staying active. Take the stairs whenever you can, volunteer or participate in local charity fun runs, explore nature and the world beyond your walls.
Whatever you choose, it’s important to stay healthy. Eat right, eat the right amount, and get some exercise. There’s no need to over-complicate or over-spend.