It can be SO easy sometimes to find excuses not to get the exercise our bodies need. If you’re like me, you’re not particularly athletically inclined and working out just isn’t your thing. That makes it even more important to eliminate the excuses so that there are no more barriers in our way (except ourselves). We can’t afford a gym pass, we don’t have any equipment, or we just don’t have the time to go to the gym everyday. Exercise is incredibly important, and there are many ways to get your workout in at home, little or no equipment needed. And it can easily be done on the cheap (even free!). Exercising on a budget IS possible. So, put those excuses to the side and get active!
**Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine if you haven’t been active.**
Exercising on a Budget
If the weather permits, you can get outside and enjoy the day. That’s a given, however, if the weather isn’t quite what you hoped it would be, you can easily find ways to get your walking in at home. When I first had my car accident, it was too snowy and icy outside for me to be able to safely walk. So, I did laps back and forth down the hallway of our apartment building. When walking outside, I just enjoy the scenery but inside, I’ll put on some headphones and listen to music as I go. Have a flight of stairs? Walk up and down them a few times. Why not grab a load of laundry on your way? Doing the stairs is great for toning your leg muscles while also getting in some low impact cardio. No stairs? No problem. Just walk around the house a few times. Make it even more of a workout by marching, lifting your knees up as you go!
Do you have a bike? Getting out for a bike ride after dinner each evening can be a really fun family activity. The bike is, of course, an initial investment but you can often find them on buy/sell sites or Facebook groups or at your local thrift store.
Get Back to the Basics
Remember those exercises your gym teacher had you do in school? Most of those are simple and require no special equipment. Think of things like push ups (do them on your knees or against a wall if too challenging), jumping jacks, lunges, and crunches.
Get a DVD from the Library
There are lots of workout DVDs – yoga, aerobics, zumba, you name it! – available at most local libraries. Sign one out and give it a try. If it’s not the one for you, check out a different DVD until you find the routine that’s perfect for you. Local thrift stores often have them for as low as $1 a piece too if you want ones that you can keep.
Use Workout Videos from Youtube
There are TONS of great, free workout videos on Youtube. If you have an idea of the kind you’d like (10 minute workout, bedtime yoga routine, etc.), just search for it and you’ll probably find it there. Here are a few of my favourites:
Turn on the tunes and dance around like crazy. Dancing is a fantastic way to destress and get some exercise in. Music seems to have a way of making us feel better when we are down and giving us the energy boost that we need to get the exercise we want. In fact, dancing is also great for your heart health. So why not pump up the volume and dance like nobody’s watching?
Buy Used or Inexpensive Equipment
Okay, I said you don’t really need any special equipment and I think I’ve proven that. Other than cycling, all of these options so far can be done for free. But if you do want to invest in some equipment, it’s easy to find quality used items on buy/sell websites or Facebook groups. I suggest finding a friend with the same equipment so you can try it out first. No sense having it sit around unused even if it is inexpensive. I highly recommend a set of resistance bands. You can get them starting at about $10 for a set and they are really simple to use. I have a set to go along with my physiotherapy exercises from after my car accident. They have different amounts of resistance to them and will allow you to match the one you need to your own personal fitness level and to advance to more resistance as you build strength.
Use the Playground’s Equipment Instead
There are lots of great playground workouts to be found on the internet and on Youtube. These use the swings, monkey bars, benches, and other equipment at your local playground as part of a fantastic workout. Take the kids and let them play while you get in your daily exercise!
Getting some exercise in is extremely important. Just remember, you don’t have to join a gym or have expensive equipment at home to get the exercise you need. All you really need for an effective at home workout is what you have on hand, yourself.