Getting into shape is at the top of your to-do list. But just like many other fitness wannabes, the cost prevents you from reaching your goal. And you’re in good company! Approximately 20% of Americans would work out more often if it wasn’t so expensive. With an average gym membership at about $60 per month, cost does seem like a reasonable excuse.
However, when you consider the various alternatives that are available to keep you healthy and fit, cost may be just that, an excuse. Even if you’re on a tight budget, it’s possible to exercise regularly. These simple (but effective) tips will help you get started.
1. Try Bodyweight Exercises
You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment to burn calories and build muscle. Your own body weight can provide enough resistance to ensure a rigorous workout.
Bodyweight exercises include push-ups, squats, lunges, and numerous variations of exercises. Do some research to find which are best for your goals. For instance, if you’re trying to build strength in your legs, squats and lunges are ideal. If you want to strengthen your upper body, focus on push-ups.
Bodyweight exercises aren’t just affordable, they’re great to perform in small spaces. This makes them perfect for anyone living in a cramped apartment.
2. Use Resistance Bands
After getting accustomed to your at-home fitness routine, you might find your body weight doesn’t provide enough resistance for fast results. That doesn’t mean it’s time to give up and run to the gym. As tempting as that may sound with advantages like personal trainers, the cost is still a concern.
Instead, add a set of resistance bands to your routine and take your workout up a notch. Resistance bands are essentially large rubber bands which, as the name implies, add extra resistance that you can’t get from your own body weight. Because various types of bands provide different amounts of resistance, it’s a good idea to try a few options.
With resistance bands, you can perform rows, bicep curls, and much more. Try a full-body resistance band workout to determine which exercises fit your needs. And your budget won’t suffer! A full set can cost as little as $24.
3. Follow Along Online
Are you just starting to adopt a fitness-focused lifestyle? If so, you might not know where to begin. Which exercises should I perform? How many sets should I do? How many repetitions? What’s the difference?
Starting a workout routine can be intimidating, especially if you were a regular participant in the past and feel out of touch. This is another reason people often abandon their fitness goals before even getting started. Fortunately, this is just another excuse that doesn’t hold up. Online resources make it easier than ever to find guides and tutorials for virtually all major types of workouts.
YouTube is a valuable resource for anyone trying to get in shape on a budget. Thanks to this popular video-streaming platform, you can follow along as professional trainers guide you through workouts. Whether you take up yoga, tai chi, resistance band workouts, or any other exercise, you’ll find plenty of relevant online videos. Best of all, they can be safely performed in the comfort of your own home.
4. Walk a Mile in Your Shoes
You don’t always need a structured workout to get a bit of exercise. Keep an eye out for daily, calorie-burning opportunities. For example, there may be times you opt to walk to your destination instead of taking a car. Or, maybe you skip the elevator and choose to take the stairs.
Don’t dismiss the importance of these seemingly minor choices. The cumulative effect they have on your fitness adds up. For example, a 180-pound person burns approximately 100 calories for every mile they walk. The steps that go into that one mile don’t need to be taken in sequence for calories to burn. While a short five-minute walk may not seem like it has a major impact on your health, choosing to take those steps instead of driving will yield rewards over time.
5. Skip the Expensive Fitness Supplements
Dedicated fitness fans often use supplements to boost the effects of their workouts. Some drink protein shakes to help build muscle. Others use pre-workout supplements to raise their energy levels. Some take pills to sleep better and increase testosterone levels. These supplements aren’t necessarily a waste of money. They can help improve your performance and enhance results in the long run. If you decide to go this route, it’s important to make sure they’re safe before consumption. Always consult with your physician before taking any new supplement.
That said, they’re called supplements for a reason: people typically don’t need them to benefit from exercise. The nutrition you need can easily come from good food sources. You’ll save a lot of money and get results by relying on food you cook for nutrition, instead of using expensive products.
6. Discover the World of Apps
There are reasons why fitness club memberships are so popular (if you can afford one). Aside from giving you opportunities to work with personal trainers, going to the gym immerses you in peer groups. As others strive to get in shape alongside of you, the support keeps you motivated.
Amazingly, it’s now possible to have a similar experience without ever signing up for a gym membership! There are plenty of free apps people often use to help them stay inspired and committed to their fitness goals. Each one has its own purpose. Some are designed to help people who aren’t frequent runners to get in shape for their first 5k run. “Gamify” apps may provide hordes of virtual zombies that chase you into fitness. Other apps allow users to connect with networks of people devoted to getting into shape. No matter which you choose, an app will help you remain focused on your goals and rival the benefits of a gym membership with little or no cost.
So, maybe the old excuse that “it’s too expensive” to workout no longer rings true. Whether you decide to take advantage of digital fitness resources or use your own body weight for a great workout, you won’t need a lot of cash to transform your body and improve your health.
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About Slingshot Health
Slingshot Health is a health tech startup that brings top healthcare providers and patients together. Patients bid on the cost of services and healthcare providers accept bids based on availability. Slingshot Health is unique in that it is a mutual marketplace putting both patients and providers back in control. Visit us at slingshothealth.com.