Get in Shape without Breaking the Budget

According to a Finder.com survey, 6.1 million American adults flushed a total $397 million down the drain on unused gym memberships in 2021. Many sign up with the false belief that if they pay for it, they’re more likely to make it part of their health routine. However, membership fees to a state-of-the-art gym may cost an arm and a leg, treadmills, elliptical machines, and the rest aren’t the only way to get in shape. 

Tips to get in shape without breaking the budget include:

Get outdoors

One of the best, free ways to get back in shape is to spend time in nature. Walking and running are outdoor activities you can engage in to get your heart rate up and work your muscles. While regular walks can help to improve your fitness levels significantly, grab your running shoes and go for a jog to ramp up your exercise.

Walking for 30 minutes daily can help you control your weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It also helps reduce stress. So, always be on the lookout for opportunities to walk. For example, if you can get there on foot, ditch that car and walk. It’s more cost-effective to burn calories than gas. Also, forget the elevator; opt to take the stairs as much as possible.

Other outdoor activities include biking, hiking, and yoga. Parks are excellent for different ways of keeping fit. Outdoor gyms near playgrounds also offer a cheaper alternative to indoor gym memberships. The fresh air and being outside will also do wonders for your mental health!

Create a home gym 

If you think creating a home gym must be an expensive undertaking, you may be right. But only if you want to equip it with expensive dumbbells and a brand-new treadmill. However, there are ways to get top-of-the-line workouts and fit on a budget without all that pricey equipment.

You can create a good fitness program centered around inexpensive equipment such as resistance bands, jump ropes, yoga mats, small hand weights, and exercise balls. You can also use household items like different sizes of bottles filled with water as dumbbells or kettlebells.

Also, instead of new equipment, you can go for used ones, which are relatively cheap. Local yard sales, online marketplaces like Craigslist, and sporting goods stores that carry resale items are good places to start. You can also save money by taking advantage of deals and offers, buying generic brands, and using cash-back apps and coupon codes to shop.

Start by investing in equipment that has more than one purpose. For example, a stability ball is a versatile piece of equipment best for exercises for building muscle and improving core stability. For bodyweight exercises, stability balls provide adequate support for your lower back, hip flexors, and other core muscles. It can also act as a bench for various routines, including chest presses. 

Suspension trainers provide an inexpensive way to get a complete full-body workout. They also use minimal space. Most trainer kits have bands, foot anchors, and handles for different exercises. Resistance training helps improve your flexibility, balance, strength, and joint stability. A typical suspension system cans cost anywhere from $40 upwards. 

Resistance bands, dumbells, and kettlebells are low-cost, versatile equipment. They can help you gain and maintain strength when used correctly. 

Use your bodyweight

Bodyweight exercises are another free workout option; they can be highly effective in helping you get in shape. They allow you to use your body weight for resistance; you don’t need hand weights or kettlebells. These exercises also allow you to get creative with your workouts, targeting areas that trouble you the most.

Examples of bodyweight exercises include jumping jacks, burpees, push-ups, squats, leg lifts, planks, and lunges. Start with one or two of these and build a routine as you get more comfortable with them. 

Online exercises

These are my favorite ways to get in shape on a budget. Thanks to Youtube, there are numerous workout videos to suit your needs. The list is endless, from pilates for beginners to yoga to Zumba classes to get the heart rate up. 

Most youtube workouts don’t even require you to have any equipment. They let you use any available household items as equipment. And while some channels feature workout routines by everyday fitness enthusiasts, others feature certified fitness trainers and experts. You can experiment with different workout techniques to see what works for you without spending a dime. But the key to sticking to an excellent program is to find a perfect combination of repetition and variety. 

Take advantage of free fitness apps

Numerous fitness apps can help you easily track your progress and level of goal achievement. My personal favorite is the step-counting app. It helps track the number of steps I take in a day, even when all I do is walk around the house doing routine household chores. Depending on the number of steps left to reach my goal of 10,000 steps per day, I can take a long walk to add to what I have already accomplished. 

There are other helps that can help you track your daily workouts, keep tabs on your diet and monitor your vitals. While some apps are free, others offer their basic version at no cost, allowing you to upgrade to the premium version to unlock extra features when needed. When choosing an app, apart from the price, also be on the lookout for those that offer additional features like diet plans, recipe tips, and running or cycling routes. 

Incorporate physical activity into your day

Most of us spend hours sitting down daily. Too much sitting is, however, dangerous to your health. Weak legs and glutes, weight gain, tight hips and a bad back, anxiety and depression, heart disease, and varicose veins are just some of the effects of too much sitting. 

Thus, finding creative ways to incorporate physical activity into your day will help you get in shape and improve your overall health. Things you can try include:

  • Take walks on your lunch break
  • Take breaks from sitting every 30 minutes. I prefer taking walks after every 90 minutes because that is how long my concentration span lasts. However, sometimes I choose to work while standing, and as a general rule, I never take phone calls while seated. I take the opportunity to walk around the office or go outside and breathe fresh air while I talk.
  • Do house chores or go outside and do some yard work. I do dishes, laundry, or vacuum whenever I work from home when it’s time for a break. These routine activities allow me to give my mind a break while allowing me to accomplish so much more in a day.

Final thoughts

Apart from exercising, stop eating junk food and drink lots of water. A healthy, balanced diet will help you get in shape. It will also increase your energy levels. Swap fizzy drinks (soda or other highly sweetened or flavored fruit juices) with water. Water is more refreshing and will help rid your body of toxins and help speed up your metabolism. 

Getting in shape doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking. With creativity and the tips highlighted above, you can get in shape while keeping your finances in shape. What’s more, you can have some money left to enjoy being in shape on an exotic vacation!

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