You don't need to join a gym to take physical activity seriously. Plenty of low-cost alternatives can help you get fit without breaking your budget. These tips can help you get started.
*Take advantage of everyday opportunities
You don't need a gym or special equipment for an aerobic workout. Activities you may take for granted can become part of your fitness routine.
- Step it up. Take a brisk walk every day, whether it's in your neighborhood or a local mall. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator and make a full workout of climbing the stairs. Sneak in extra steps whenever you can by parking farther away from your destination.
- Make housework a workout. Mow the lawn, weed the garden or rake the leaves. Even indoor activities such as vacuuming and scrubbing count as a workout if you increase your heart rate.
*Improvise with household items
If you'd rather not spend a penny on exercise equipment, use ordinary household items for various upper and lower body exercises:
- Canned goods. Many canned goods can serve double duty as hand weights!
- Chair or step stool. Use a chair for support when doing exercises such as leg curls. A low, sturdy step stool can become exercise equipment if you use it for step training — an aerobic exercise resembling stair climbing.
*Consider a small investment
If you're able to spend a little, you can find inexpensive products to add variety to your fitness routine:
- Dumbbells. Use these small, hand-held weights to strengthen your upper body. They're available in many sizes.
- Exercise DVDs. Create the feel of a health club aerobics class in your own living room or choose a program that'll help you improve your strength and flexibility.
- Fitness ball. A fitness ball looks like a large beach ball. You can do many core exercises, including abdominal crunches, with a fitness ball. You can also use a fitness ball to improve your flexibility and balance.
- Jump-ropes. Skipping rope can be a great cardiovascular workout.
Adapted from: Mayo Clinic