It may not seem to you that physical health is related to financial health, but I would argue with that. Keeping in shape is important for many reasons, one of which is monetary. Being healthy and fit can prevent many medical issues and lower your medical costs in the long-term. Plus, exercise can help you sleep better, take less sick days at work, and be more productive throughout your day – which can help you earn more money in the long run. Feeling better about your appearance will give you more confidence, which can also translate to higher earning power in the workplace.
But how do you become fit without spending a lot of money on a trainer or a gym?
Of course, you can walk, bike and run outside for free. I definitely encourage outdoor exercise. I think fresh air is important and that outdoor activities can make you happier than indoor activities. You can take advantage of new technologies, such as smartphone apps to enhance your outdoor workouts. I like to use the free “Map My Run” smartphone app to map out where I’ve gone when I’m running. This app also tracks my distance, speed, and even the calories I’ve burned. Check out this Lifehacker article for other free fitness apps.
However, walking, biking and running only cover the cardio component of exercise. It’s important that you work in some activities that will build your muscular strength as well as your heart strength. These types of exercises can be performed outside, but are often difficult to do if you don’t have any prior training in them.
And how do you deal with bad weather? As I’ve mentioned in other posts, we have beautiful winters here in South Florida. Our winters, unlike much of the country, are ideal for outdoor activities. But the summers are brutally hot and humid, and they last for 6 months. It’s also extremely rainy for 2 months of the year, and the rain and storms are unpredictable. I’m sure other people have to deal with even worse conditions.
So, the ability to work out indoors is a must if you want to work out consistently.
Indoor Exercise Options
I was lucky enough to have a friend give me an indoor recumbent exercise bike that they were no longer using. I use this when I don’t feel like doing exercise that requires any thought. I just pick a program (hill, manual, weight loss, etc.), and then spend 30 minutes on the bike, watching something I’m interested in on TV. There are certain shows that I’ll only allow myself to watch on the bike. This helps motivate me to get on the bike, even when I really don’t feel like it.
If you’re interested in a piece of indoor exercise equipment, Craigslist in your area will probably have many inexpensive options. You might even be able to find something for free!
I’ve also found that YouTube is a really good source of exercise videos. A search for “fitness channels” on YouTube brings up a whopping 330,000 results. You can find pretty much any type of exercise you’re interested in – from Martial Arts, to Yoga, to Bootcamp style workouts.
A YouTube channel that I particularly like is FitnessBlender. It’s completely free, and it’s run by a husband and wife team that put together hundreds of different videos at different skill-sets, and using little or no equipment. The videos are basic so you can play your own music if you’d like something to jazz them up a bit. FitnessBlender videos are all different lengths, ranging from 4 minutes to two hours.
At some point during my fitness journey, I purchased an inexpensive set of dumbbells, and a yoga mat. These aren’t necessary to do many of the workouts on YouTube, but I still find them helpful to bring my workout to the next level.
Do you have other ideas for free or inexpensive workouts? Share your thoughts in the comments below.