The New Year inspires all of us to think about our fitness and try to improve it. Usually, this means that gym memberships sell as quickly as we find ourselves making our resolutions. However, the cost to maintain them can be a big ticket item on your budget.
While some basic gym memberships may cost only $8 or $9 each month, more inclusive ones can range from $25 – $80/month to include extra benefits:
- Group fitness classes
- Locker rooms and storage
- On-site childcare
- Relaxation services (sauna, massage)
- Special equipment
- Personal training
These costs can add-up to hundreds of dollars spent each year. If you are on a fixed income, purchasing a pricey gym membership may not be an option.
Fitness is Flexible
The great thing about fitness is that it can be worked on at any time. After all, they didn’t have impressive gyms centuries or even decades ago.
Even the simplest routines and activities can make a difference. This means that you don’t need a gym membership to manage your weight and improve your health. While some luxury amenities may not be available to you, you still have options if you want to clean-up your fitness habits in the New Year.
Finding Fitness Beyond a Gym Membership
Set Your Schedule and Time Commitments:
- Set a weekly goal for your active minutes. Health experts recommend at least 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity exercise.
- Break this goal into smaller, daily amounts. For instance, divide your workouts into 45 minute sessions.
- Figure out what days, and what times of day, are best for you to exercise and keep a consistent routine.
- Adding structure to your fitness plan is essential, especially if you aren’t devoting huge chunks of time to the gym.
Find Easy Ways to Incorporate Strength-Training:
You may not have strength machines or weight racks at your disposal, but there are easy ways to get around this. Your first option is to invest in a few pieces of equipment that you can store at home. These can include hand weights, medicine balls and resistance bands that keep their worth with time.
If you are not able to purchase equipment, find items around your home that can accomplish the same thing:
- Milk gallons
- Water jugs
- Soup cans
- Large books
- Paint cans
- Bags of apples or onions
- Large bottles of laundry detergent
For more tips on at-home workouts, CLICK HERE.
You can also get strength-training during cardio workouts. For example, uphill biking or jogging, rock climbing and hiking through different levels of terrain all build muscle.
Engage in Active Activities You Find Fun
You are more likely to exercise regularly if you enjoy it. Try to participate in active activities that you find fun. Here are some popular examples:
- Intramural or community sports
- Canoeing or kayaking
- Bicycling or skating
- Structured dance
- Yoga, Pilates or Tai-chi
Take the Buddy System to the Next Level
Getting active alongside other people with the same goals is motivating. However, it can be hard to convince a friend or family member to wake up early and join you for a workout. Try these ideas if you’re struggling to build a community of people that will get active with you and hold you accountable:
- Find a neighborhood fitness group that meets weekly in a designated area
- Visit your local park or recreation field and ask to join a game or workout
- Start a local Facebook group and encourage followers to meet-up
- If you have a friend who is a fitness enthusiast, ask for their support
Gyms are convenient and they offer a lot, but they don’t always fit your budget. Still, you can get great workouts on your own time and develop a regular routine to help you meet your fitness goals. Think outside the box and brainstorm ways to work the same muscles and organs that you would at the gym. Most of all, have fun with it!