The rising cost of food, gas and other necessities make a gym membership and expensive workout equipment seem like a luxury, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your waistline to protect your wallet. There are many ways to get in your daily routine without spending a penny. The key to a low-cost or no-cost workout is to work with what you’ve got, and many great exercises don’t require any extra equipment or gear.
Crunches: It doesn’t take expensive equipment to get great abs. Dedicating to a daily routine of crunches can result in a stellar six-pack. Lie on your back with knees bent and hands crossed on your chest or behind your neck (make sure you don’t pull your head, which could result in a neck injury) and curl towards your knees.
Push-ups: Push-ups are another great, no-cost exercise that can tone and strengthen your arms and upper body. Lie face down, put your arms shoulder-width apart with your hands flat on the floor and feet parallel, then push up. For a modified version, leave your knees on the ground.
Walk: Walking is one of the easiest ways to get exercise. It keeps off extra weight, helps with bone density and a brisk walk can be a great cardiovascular workout. If you plan to walk as part of your exercise routine, all you need is a good pair of walking shoes. If time is limited, you can also just add more walking into you day. Skip the elevator and opt for the stairs. Park your car further from stores instead of closer. Even a little extra walking can go a long way towards a healthier lifestyle.
Swim: Swimming is an exceptional cardiovascular workout, and it’s also a great option for people who have resistance-based exercise injuries. Although it’s not the best free activity during the winter, during the summer free swimming options abound. An internet search can help you find great swimming holes in your area, and if your not one for lakes and rivers, public pools are very affordable and often have a dedicated adult swim time.
Ride a bike: Bike riding is another exceptional cardiovascular workout, and if you commute via bicycle it can save a lot of gas money, as well as the environment. If you don’t own a bike and don’t have a lot of extra money, check area newspapers for used bikes. Some areas even have bike-lending programs.
Yoga: Yoga offers many benefits both mentally and physically. Although yoga classes aren’t free, a lot of yoga studios offer great introductory rates. Yoga DVDs are available online-search for sales or purchase used one for significant savings. Also run a search for online videos that show certain postures. Even a few minutes of yoga a day has amazing benefits.
Dance: Turn up your favorite tunes and start dancing. Whether it’s with your partner, kids, or alone, dancing is a great way to burn calories and it’s also a stress reliever. It’s not necessary to know the latest dance moves. Improvise and move where the beat takes you.
Play Outside: Did your parents ever tell you to go outside and play? They knew it would burn off some of that abounding kid energy. Well, it’ll still burn off extra calories. Basketball, soccer and football are all great exercise and only require purchasing a ball. Most city parks have free courts and fields where you can play. If you live in a more rural area, or if you’re not into competitive sports, put on a sturdy pair of shoes and go on a hike.
Be creative, be healthy and most importantly have fun.