Losing weight and dumping debt have similar features.
Both can lead to a more fruitful future.
Both can leave you feeling lighter.
Both can take you on journey of triumphs and setbacks.
Both require constant attention in order to see results.
Both can seem like pure hell if you’re not naturally inclined to work out or manage money. It doesn’t matter. Developing an affinity for both is a good thing. The sooner we accept it, the better off we’ll be. There is no need to sacrifice our health while detangling from debt. However, taking on a gym membership or working out with a personal trainer may not be in the best interest of your monthly budget. Consider the following fiscal options instead.
1. Running/walking groups. The weather is breaking for most of the country. I’m jealous if you live closer to the equator – year round summers work even better. The great outdoors offers a bevy of opportunities to burn calories and reclaim your healthy self. As with dumping debt, accountability partners foster a level of commitment that might be missing when you go it alone. Running or walking doesn’t float your boat? Try biking, roller blades (people still do this), or tennis on public courts. These all provide frugal fitness options with outdoor flair.
2. YouTube. This site is not just for slacking off in a world of cute kitten clips. You knew that of course. Well, have you considered YouTube channel inspired workouts? With a Chromcast adapter, cast your YouTube vids right on the big screen. Sarah Fuller provides a great list of exercise and healthy eating channels to get you started.
3. On Demand. Scrolling through the On Demand menu options – keep scrolling until the end – you’ll find a fitness category. Those with this cable package already might as well put it to good fitness use. There are plenty of free videos that cover everything from yoga to weight training. Enduring 80’s style leotards, legwarmers, and puffy hair is required for some. Calories burn just the same. On Demand is nice because you can work through a variety of exercise videos and add variety to a dull routine.
I recently bought this compact elliptical machine in order to avoid a gym membership during the winter. I actually love it. It’s portable, so it can be stored away safely when not in use. I place a chair in front as an exercise alternative. My hubby prefers to use it standing upright. It’s come in handy, even in the summer when the weather won’t cooperate or I just don’t make it outside before nightfall.
4. Exercise ministries. Can’t get your loved ones off the couch? Churches are jumping into the group workout arena in a big way. As I’ve recently been reminded, our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit and we’re to care for them inside and out. Check out the church websites in your area or start a fitness ministry at your own. With the free streaming options, or dare I say an exercise DVD, combine people with a multipurpose space and you have the makings of a committed exercise group.
5. City Parks. Park districts or other local nonprofit community centers also offer work options. Take advantage of gym room equipment, sign up for instructor led classes, or join team based sports leagues. These facilities may not compete with gym chains in terms of equipment quantity or facilities, but they present a budget friendly alternative to staying in shape. Additionally, the pay structure is generally pay as you go vs subscription-based so you don’t pay for time not used.
Get in gear. No excuses. Healthy fiscal habits won’t be as fun if you feel lousy. Also, exercising – from a fiscal standpoint – can be a great substitute for other fiscally unproductive habits. When we feel better, we make better decisions!
What additional frugal fitness options work for you?