It can seem as if keeping fit, even at home, takes a fair amount of money. But if gym memberships and expensive equipment aren’t in your budget, don’t despair. It’s still possible to enjoy a variety of effective workouts.
Walking is Good Exercise — and Free
During fine weather, take advantage of local streets and parks to walk or jog. If you have young children who aren’t up for a workout pace, try joining forces with another parent who can supervise while you take a brisk lap of the park. Then, when it’s your turn to watch the children, maximize your time with some stretches or have a go on the monkey bars!
In rainy weather, you can still get your walk in a mall. Or, for a low-cost option, invest in a walk-at-home DVD workout — look for titles by Leslie Sansone or Prevention.
Other At-Home Cardio Choices
Rebounding (excercising on a mini-trampoline) is a brilliant form of exercise for the heart, lungs, legs, and core, and it’s great for lymphatic drainage and balance. Rebounders are often easy to find at yard sales for well under $20, if you don’t have one lying around. There are range of rebounding DVDs available, but it’s also possible to adapt a step workout using the rebounder — just be sure to wear non-slip shoes. A few minutes of jogging or bouncing whenever you walk past the mini-tramp will get your fitness up in no time!
Another cheap (and really challenging) workout option is the simple skipping rope. You’ll need supportive shoes and ideally a heavy rope — work up to jumping for several 30–60 second blocks. In between sets, march on the spot or dust off your hula hoop.
Strength Training at Home
Buying weights can get expensive, but baked bean cans don’t really cut it when it comes to building strength. Use bodyweight exercises for better results: abdominal exercises like curl-ups and toe taps, push-ups (against a wall or countertop, if you’re not feeling quite so GI Jane), tricep dips, squats and lunges are great.
Search the web for free or cheap audio or video clips that will motivate you — podcasts are fantastic for tips and tricks. Check out podcasts by Pilates on Fifth, iTrain, and Podrunner.
Check your library and video store for exercise DVDs, or see if you can borrow some from friends — when you find a DVD that works for you, it’s a small investment you can use for years, but it’s fun to try something different every once in a while.