Fitness + Well-being

Denise Austin's 6 Ways to Exercise on a Budget

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 (Courtesy of Denise Austin.)

You don’t need a fancy, expensive gym membership to get in shape! Trust me, you can accomplish all of the same goals as a gym while in the great outdoors – or even in the comfort of your own home.  With a little planning and creativity you can fit in a workout a day  -  totally free of charge.

Don’t believe it? Keep reading!

Use family time as an excuse to get active.

Instead of spending time together watching a movie or playing video games, unplug and pick fitness activities that you can delight in together as a family – preferably outdoors. Even in colder months, you can hike at your local park, have a snowman-building contest, go sledding – the possibilities are endless! The best part is that everyone’s metabolism will get a healthy boost while you are having fun.

Start a pedometer challenge.

Encourage some healthy competition in your family by purchasing inexpensive pedometer for yourself, your kids, and your spouse to wear to help you all remember to walk more throughout the day. They’re an easy way to count your steps and keep track of how much movement you're getting — even the younger ones will be able to participate! Try setting a family goal (maybe it's 10,000 steps a day) or creating teams and trying to beat each other's step counts each week. Your kids will love competing, and you may notice some weight loss.

Sign up for a race.

Training for a goal, like a 5K or triathlon, can be great motivation to help you stay active. Most entry fees are inexpensive, depending on where you live — plus they typically support a charitable cause. Do an internet search for races in your neighborhood and use the race date as a tool to keep you motivated in the months leading up to it. Some races may provide a training plan when you sign up – if so, take advantage of it or look up free couch to 5K plans online!

Get involved with extracurricular activities.

Instead of just signing your children up for soccer leagues, gymnastics lessons  and baseball teams, get involved and help coach or volunteer as a team parent. Your children will love that you’re involved, and you’ll be surprised at just how much running around you’ll do as you show them the ropes. Your family will build lasting memories – and burn major calories while you’re at it!

Invest in low-cost exercise equipment or get creative!

You don’t need expensive equipment to create a home gym. One of the best tools you can invest in cheaply is dumbbells. These are great for toning your arms. Another great tool for switching up your workouts is fitness DVDs. These are also low cost and many come with a few different workouts within them, like my latest, titled "Burn Fat Fast Latin Dance," which has four mini-dance routines for you to try. Remember, you can also borrow fitness DVDs from public libraries. Other at-home tools that I love? If you’re a big walker, check out my walking kit – it has everything you need to turn your walk into a fat-burning workout. If you want to trim and slim your thighs, I love my thigh toner. It really firms up your legs, especially your inner thighs!              

Build your workouts into your day.

Think about what errands you could accomplish on foot, instead of in the car. Can you walk to your couples’ game night instead of driving? Could you mow the lawn instead of having your son do it? Think of sneaky, easy ways to fit in fitness that don’t cost a dime. All it takes is your legs and some energy!

These easy, low-cost tips will help to keep you fit all year long! Which tips do you think you can commit to? Try at least two for a few weeks and see how you do. Every change makes a difference. Good luck!