If the only thing keeping you from starting a fitness programme is the cost of a gym membership, here is good news. You do not need to join a gym to take exercise seriously. Plenty of low-cost alternatives can help you get fit without breaking your budget.
You do not necessarily need special equipment for an aerobic workout. With a little foresight, activities you may take for granted can become part of your exercise routine.
Step it up: Take a brisk walk every day, whether it is a path through your neighborhood or laps in a local mall. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or make a full workout of climbing the stairs. Sneak in extra steps whenever you can by parking farther away from your destination.
Join in the fun: If you have children, do not just watch them play. Join them for a game of tag or kickball. Walk them to the park. Dance.
Consider modest investments: If you are looking for fitness bargains, these inexpensive exercise products like Dumbbells, Resistance tubing, Jump-ropes, Exercise videos or DVDs may be a good bet.
Buy used equipment: Some sporting goods stores specialise in used equipment. Just make sure the cost of shipping will not put the item out of your budget.
Improvise: If you do not want to spend a penny on exercise equipment, use ordinary household items for various upper and lower body exercises.
Milk or water jugs: Fill empty milk or water jugs with water or sand and secure the tops with duct tape. To adjust the weights as your fitness level changes, simply add more water or sand.
Step stools: A low, sturdy step stool can become exercise equipment if you use it for step training — an aerobic exercise resembling stair climbing.
Know what to avoid: Some fitness products are not worth buying, no matter how low the price. Do not buy herbal supplements or other products that claim fitness benefits overnight or promise to melt away pounds without diet and exercise. Also avoid exercise products that focus on one body part, such as abs or thighs. There is no such thing as spot reducing.
Exercise can do you a world of good. But it will not if you focus more on the trappings than on the actual physical activity. Do not get caught up in memberships or purchases you cannot afford. Concentrate on your fitness goals — and how to achieve them without breaking your budget.
Source: The Daily Star, July 25, 2009