Get fit by 'accident' - without breaking the bank
Fitness, exercise and a healthy lifestyle – we all know it will help us feel better, look better and live longer. But who has the time or the money to do it? The truth is, getting enough exercise doesn’t have to be anywhere near as complicated - or expensive - as you might think …
The alarm clock rings, and we’re off!
Get up, get dressed, make breakfast, take the kids to school, go to work, pick the kids up, do the shopping, clean the house, make dinner … Phew! I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted already – and I haven’t even gotten anywhere near the gym yet!
The Mayo Clinic recommends that the average adult get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (like walking or swimming) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (like running) a week – plus at least two sessions of strength-training exercises. Getting regular exercise can have amazing health benefits, improve your mood, help you sleep and maybe even help you live longer. But while we’re always on the go, how much of that counts as fitness, exercise or a good workout? And with so many things to do, and so much pressure on Aussie families to stretch every dollar further, paying expensive gym fees and spending hours on our fitness routine is sometimes just out of the question. And that’s the problem – we can’t afford not to get fit, but we just don’t have the time or the money to do it.
Or do we? There’s more than one way to get your body moving, so take a look at these tips for enjoying the benefits of exercise without busting your budget …
It all counts
The thing is, all the running about that you do in your daily life does count – so you’re probably getting more exercise than you think, and it’s incredibly easy to add in a bit more. Aim for about 30 minutes of activity a day, and look for little ways to go further – remembering that you don’t have to do it all in one go. Walk the kids to school instead of driving them, and walk to work if you’re able. If that’s not practical, try parking your car or hopping off the train a little further from your destination and walking the rest of the way. About to take the lift at work? Try the stairs instead. And there’s nothing like a great walk or run at the end of the day to wind down and de-stress.
You know how it goes – you’re curled up in front of the TV, feeling guilty about all the exercise you haven’t done, when you’re attacked by the dreaded infomercial. Healthy people jog or swivel on some exotic piece of machinery and if you just pay $99.99 a month for the foreseeable future, all your fitness problems will be solved! Of course, if you actually give in and buy one, it generally gathers dust in the corner – and you take on a debt that you really don’t need. Fortunately, you don’t need all the fancy equipment. A pair of dumbbells (or even a couple of filled water bottles if you’re just starting out) and a skipping rope will cost a lot less, and you can do crunches, push-ups and jumping jacks for free. Best of all, you can exercise at home while watching your favourite shows … and show those infomercials who’s boss!
All this is great if you like exercising alone – but some people find going to the gym improves their motivation … if only it didn’t cost so much. If you’re a gym junkie, check out your health insurance policy to see if it will cover your ‘fix’ – or see if it’s cost effective to switch to a policy that does. Also remember that many gyms have sales quotas employees need to meet, so making a call toward the end of the month and pushing for a discount could get you some great savings.
The idea that exercise has to be expensive and complicated is a myth: the opportunities are all around us, and we don’t even have to alter our daily routines much to take advantage of them. So if you want all the fantastic benefits of feeling fit, looking good and getting healthy, all that’s left to do is to get up and GO!
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Tags: saving rates, fitness exercise, exercise at home