Friday, January 2, 2009

Physically Fit and Fiscally Sound

It's time again for those New Year's Resolutions. One at the top of a lot of lists is getting in shape. This can cost a lot, but it doesn't have to. You can shell out a lot of money for fancy gym memberships, home exercise equipment and spiffy spandex workout clothes, or you can go the frugal route.

One of the best forms of exercise out there is walking. All you need is comfortable clothing and a decent pair of shoes with good arch support. If you want to work your arms out at the same time, get some wrist weights. These are filled with sand and fasten around your wrists with velcro. You can get these at Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc., and they are inexpensive, but I see them often at yard sales or thrift stores even cheaper. I am lucky enough to have some walking trails behind my house, but if you don't have trails at your disposal, walk around your neighborhood, walk in the park, walk up to the grocery store when you only need a few items, walk around the track at your nearest school, walk in the mall - walk anywhere, just walk! Thirty minutes a day is all you need. Walking is good for those people who find exercise boring, because you can look around at your surroundings and forget that you're working out!

If you are more of an indoor exerciser, you can find lots of exercise videos at your local library. Check out different types and change things up to keep from getting bored. The popular exercise magazines also have websites where you can download exercise routines or watch videos. This type of exercise is good in bad weather. All you need is some comfortable clothing, a tv with VCR or computer and some floor space that is clear of furniture. If you have hard floors, an exercise mat can prevent soreness. Again, these can be found cheaply at discount stores.

Don't forget to take advantage of equipment you already have. Do you own a bicycle that's rusting in the garage, or an exercise bike that's really more of a clothes rack at the moment? Dust them off and press them into service. You can even watch tv while you're on the exercise bike, and before you know it, you'll have burned off your dinner calories! Do you still use those skis or skates in the shed? If not, get back in the habit. Do your kids have a Wii or Dance, Dance Revolution? Hook it up and make use of it.

If the idea of any type of formal exercise is still too much for you, just try increasing your activity level. Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Sweep and mop floors vigorously. Hang laundry out to dry on the line. Take the rugs outside and beat them. Scrub all the windows until they shine. Walk the dog longer. Just move!


Anonymous said...

Some good ideas! I'm always searching for ways to do more for free. One thing I always do is park farther away and walk to my destination. Hey, every little bit helps.

Anonymous said...

It's not what you do but how often you do it....It all adds up...Now that I'm all inspired think I'll walk around the Swap meet for a while...Might find some cheep exercise equipment while I'm at it!