Sunday, July 7, 2013

Getting Your Exercise On The Cheap

Let's face it there are many forms of exercise a person can do to keep in shape. Joining gyms, YMCAs, etc. can be very expensive. Even classes like spinning, Jazzercise, Zumba, can get costly if you are going frequently. I am a current lover of all things Zumba and started attending classes back in October of last year, sometimes going 3-4 times a week. That is $6.00 a class or a punch card for 10 classes @$48.00. Going to classes four times a week at six dollars a class becomes like $24.00 a week.  Not to mention the gas going back and forth to classes. That can get costly really quickly. Over the past couple of months I have slowed down my trips to Zumba class and replaced it with cheaper alternatives at home. I have a few ways I get my exercise on without any money to be spent:

  • Netflix - I love my subscription to Netflix. Our plan allows us to to get DVDs and watch live streaming. There are some live streaming exercise videos but in my opinion they are not very good. If I chose to use Netflix for an exercise class I use the DVD by mail choice. This also works great to preview exercise DVDs before purchasing and finding out it was not at all what you expected.
  • Youtube - As far as Zumba goes, Youtube has been a lifesaver lately. There are tons and tons of videos that instructors all over the country have uploaded to Youtube. Before you start saying "Yeah, but that is Zumba, they won't have what I like to do", well you would be wrong on that count. Obviously they have every kind of exercise imaginable. The videos in the neighborhood of 3-5 minutes long. This means you will need to search for "like" videos and save them somewhere. My current preference is on Realplayer. I was just saving the videos to my favorites and that worked pretty well. The one real problem is my Internet, it became harder and harder to watch an entire video with it skipping, getting stuck, etc. So hubby to the rescue, he showed me how to download Realplayer and search the videos through them then download the video into my exercise library. Now it works like a charm and I love it. When I get tired of the current videos, I just go search for more.
  • Exercise Equipment - Most families have exercise equipment at their home that rarely gets used. Treadmills, stationary bikes, and weights. If you don't they can be purchased very cheaply through Craigslist, yard sales, etc. Maybe once a week I will use one of the items I have at home to do something different. It is true that your body gets used to whatever routine you are doing, so it is important to switch it up a lot.
  • Walking/Hiking - Okay, anybody can do this one. Our family has started taking one day a week to go hiking. We are blessed to live in an area that has hundreds of hiking trails and many state parks. Sometimes we do have to pay a small $5.00 entrance fee to the park. Walking costs nothing. I walk a couple of times a week to give my knees and heels some time off  from the Zumba which is very intense on your joints. 
I still try to attend one Zumba class a week for the camaraderie and support I get from the Zumba community. Plus it is just a lot of fun to attend a class. Kind of like a party. Loud music, dancing, fellowship.

Times are tough all over and we are not immune to the financial struggles that everyone is going through. This means tightening our belts everywhere. One class a week now only costs me $6.00 which I can take out of my spare change jar. One family outing of hiking a week is $5.00. We view the hiking as entertainment. So for family entertainment and exercise I spend $11.00 a week down from $25.00 - $30.00(class expense and gas). That definitely adds up over the months. 

Exercise is so important, don't let the lack of money stop you from getting in shape and being the healthiest you can be. This hit very close to home to us recently. On Monday night I was coming back from my walk and passed our neighbor washing his car. One hour later there was an ambulance picking him up and taking him to the hospital. He is in his late 40s and having chest pains. When he arrived at the hospital they discovered he was definitely having a heart attack, one of his main arteries was completely blocked. I am sure this was a real wake up call for him. 

I am on a mission to keep my family healthy. That means exercising and eating better. Exercise keeps me sane and has allowed me to come off of my medication that helps with my anxiety. I have been off of it 6-8 months. Now I want to be off of my acid reflux medication which causes so much harm to people and they don't even know it. That it a whole other post for another day. All I'm saying is be active and work your way up to more strenuous exercise. It will greatly improve your outlook on life.


Sue Elvis said...

I run because apart from the cost of a pair of shoes this is free exercise. (I also enjoy running!) I never thought to look for Zumba videos on Youtube. I might do that. Thanks for the suggestion!

a49erfangirl said...

I haven't tried Zumba yet. I have wanted too. In fact I almost bought Zumba for the Wii. Was afraid I wouldn't like it. I never thought of looking it up on you tube. Will have to do that.