Gyms are always offering compelling deals and come-ons about how toned you will become. But in the long run, gyms can be expensive—especially if you don’t use them! And it is easy to make excuses not to go: it will take too much time to drive there and back, I’m too tense to enjoy it, tomorrow will be better….
That said, there are a variety of tips for staying fit without a gym. Here are just a few starter ideas!
- Walk. Okay, that may sound lame but walking at a fast pace for as little as 20 minutes a day has been proven to decrease your blood pressure and help your heart. If you are having trouble getting motivated to do it on your own enlist a friend to walk with you. Or remind yourself that the dog needs his exercise too and take him with you! But remember that the key is a fast pace: ambling along won’t help much, so push yourself!
- Weights. Buy a set of dumbells. The weights you choose will depend on your current fitness level. For most women starting out, dumbbell weight sets from 2 to 10 pounds will be sufficient. You’ll also need a routine. A variety of books (many available from your local library) will guide you through an entire body workout, including photos to show you the proper posture.
- Stairs. Walk up stairs rather than taking the elevator. To encourage yourself, time how long it takes you to walk up a certain set of stairs the first time and then challenge yourself to beat that time, even if only by one second!
- Yoga. Yoga is not only great for fitness but it also works as a form of meditation, helping you relax. Many community centers offer yoga classes for a low fee. You can also purchase DVDs that will guide you through the exercises. Many online videos at YouTube can also help you get started.
- Bike. You do not have to be one of those hard core people in multi-colored jerseys and spandex pants to ride a bike. You don’t even need a fancy bike to get exercise. You can purchase a basic road bike or mountain bike new from a local store or you can purchase a used bike from the Craigslist.com in your area. Once you have your bike, even just riding around your neighborhood a few days a week will increase your fitness. If you have kids, involve them—it will instill good values early on and also increase your quality time with them.
These are just a few starter ideas. However, you can incorporate fitness into your every day life without even realizing it. For example, when you take your teenage child to the local mall, park as far away as possible from the mall. Just walking from the car to the mall, even if not fast, will increase your fitness level. If you start to think about easy ways to staying fit without joining a gym, you will come up with creative ideas of your own!
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