We know that effective weight loss begins with better eating habits, but no program would be complete without an exercise component. But burning calories shouldn’t burn a hole in your wallet, In fact, some of the best activity options come at little or no cost.
Here are some ideas for working out on a budget, wherever you might find yourself. For your safety, always check with your doctor before engaging in any physical activity.
Forget buying high-priced home fitness equipment. Your house is a gym just waiting to be used. For instance, if you live in a split-level home, your stairs are a perfect way to burn calories and get your heart rate up. Not only is stair climbing efficient cardio, but research has shown that it can aid in weight loss. According to the Health Science Center at the University of Mexico, climbing two flights of stairs a day can help you lose nearly six pounds in a year. If you were to climb six flights a day, you could lose close to 18 pounds. You can also take advantage of the stairs at work if accessible to you.
Need more aerobic variety? Purchase a workout DVD. There a hundreds of fun fitness videos to choose from like Zumba, boot camp, and cardio kickboxing. With so many options out there, you can easily find a program you will enjoy.
With cardio covered, let’s turn our attention to resistance training. These exercises are important for weight maintenance because not only do they burn calories while we’re active, but also build muscle, which boosts our metabolism, even while at rest. The beauty of resistance training is that your body is the main tool. You may not realize it, but many of the movements you perform every day are actually exercises. Whenever you stand up or sit down, you’re performing one of the most powerful leg exercises, known as a squat. Use a chair for support and assistance, and perform as many squats as you feel comfortable doing. For upper body strength, find a sturdy wall to use for standing push-ups. Just place your palms on the wall in front of you and bend forward and push back, just like you would on the floor. You can make this exercise easier or harder by adjusting your angle against the wall. Don’t forget about the chores! Putting away laundry, cleaning the house, and carrying groceries are all muscle-building movements.
There’s simply no beating the great outdoors. Outside workouts are not only free, but have endless possibilities. Take full advantage of nature by playing with the kids at the park, gardening in the yard, or taking a walk through the neighborhood. Not only is outdoor exercise economical, but it can also help improve your mood. A study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement. It also has been shown to decrease tension, confusion, anger, and depression. The world is one big playground, so when conditions call for it, take your workout outside and have fun!
Joining a gym doesn’t need to be an expensive investment. Start by visiting your local gyms and taking a tour. After you’ve seen the facilities and pricing options you can make a practical and informed decision about signing up. Many gyms also allow a lot of room for negotiation, especially on initiation fees. So don’t be afraid to haggle! Hiring a personal trainer can become costly, so look for a membership that gives you access to group classes. Not only will you have an instructor guide you through your workout, you can enjoy the session with family or friends. Studies have shown group and social support is associated with greater weight loss and management.
There are plenty of ways to exercise, but the key is to do it consistently, and to keep building on your progress. Start with small steps and gradually build your way up. With so many inexpensive options to choose from, there’s a workout plan for everyone to enjoy. The only question now is, how are you going to get started?