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Monday, October 18, 2010

Creative and Fun Ways to Get Fit Without Breaking Your Budget

I was recently asked by a reader to publish another fitness post.
I did some research on getting fit, as well as drew from personal experiences, and the experiences of my friends. :)

Here are are few ways to get fit without spending money on gym memberships:

1. Park a block or two away from where you are going. For example, when you go grocery shopping, always park in the farthest spot away from the store. The extra distance that you would be walking will allow you to shave off a few calories, although you will most likely not lose weight.

2. Skipping. Get a jump rope and see how long you can do it. It's fun, and helps with your coordination and cardio, all of which are important. Aim for 5 minutes the first time you start, but then try to get to half hour or longer.

3. Do push ups, squats, swimmer ab exercises and sit ups at home. You can do them while watching TV and during commercial breaks. You don't have to do a lot right away. Instead, when starting out, do a few, then take a break, then do a few more and see how many sets you can do.

4. People sometimes give away fitness equipment that is taking up too much space in their houses (therefore exercise equipment could be had for free on sites like Craigslist, UsedEverywhere, and Kijiji). Take advantage of that. If you have the room in your house to fit a mini gym, by all means, that's the best thing! You can get a Nordic track (I have one), and a Weider Home Gym. Even if you might have to shell out some money for a home gym system, it will still end up being cheaper than a gym membership with all the admin fees, taxes, registration fees, etc. Click here to read my post about why I don't have a gym membership.

5. Take up jogging. You don't have to train to be the next Paula Radcliffe or Haile Gebrselassie (both at one point held marathon records), but you can certainly jog in your neighbourhood or the local track. When I got started with running, I subscribed to Runner's World Magazine in order to see beginner, intermediate and advanced running routines that are designed to build up stamina, increase your distance and speed.

6. Get a stability ball. It costs approximately $20, which is FAR less than some gyms' administrative fee. Then, Google "stability+ball+exercises" for instructional videos and images of all the different exercises you can do with the ball. I own one, so I sit on it when I'm on the computer, and I do all kinds of ab work, in addition to exercises for improving posture. You can also find more tips on using the stability ball in the book, Ultimate Core Ball Workout: Strengthening and Sculpting Exercises,
which is not expensive and has had positive reviews from people.

7. Opt for using the stairs in your building. If you have stairs in your apartment building-use them! Forget the elevator! I remember reading that you can burn up to 100 calories per day if you take the average flight of stairs 6 times per day. When I was younger, I used to go up and down the stairs at my house while listening to music. I enjoyed it and it was fun, so I know that you too can put on some of your favorite tunes and hit the stairs.

8. If you are having difficulties getting started and keeping motivated, try signing up for a local run for a good cause. Running for charity is a beautiful thing, and you get the physical benefits for your participation. Therefore, it's a win-win situation. The only cost to you is the entry fee, and you will usually get a T-Shirt, not to mention the fact that most proceeds go to help a worthy cause. I've ran and fund raised for the Terry Fox Foundation and The Heart & Stroke Foundation, and I can tell you first hand that both were some of the BEST running experiences I've had.

9. Purchase a workout DVD. They are generally not expensive and you can learn a few great exercises. There are workout DVDs for all skill and fitness levels.

10. Become a dog walker. You can actually get paid for walking other people's dogs. If you love dogs, would like to make some extra cash, and can commit to a regular routine, then this option is definitely worth a try. Again, it is a win-win situation in the sense that the dog owner benefits by not having to worry about walking the dog, and you benefit by making a few extra bucks while getting exercise.

11. Start your own fitness group. Get a few friends together and pick out some physical activities that you enjoy, such as volleyball, hiking, basketball, walks in the park, and anything else that makes you move. The best part about doing this is that you stay motivated because you do it with people whose company you enjoy. Workout buddies are great!

12. Be adventurous! Can you think of an physical activity that you would like to try? Now is a great time to start! How about rock climbing, skiing, rollerblading, cycling, rowing, kayaking, kickboxing, rafting, dancing, swimming, etc? All are great.

13. Thanks to Nintendo Wii Fit, people can now get in shape while playing a video game. I have never personally tried it and I'm not into video games, so I cannot give a testimonial nor review.

14.Join a volunteer organization that helps disabled people find activity partners. It's a great way to contribute to your community and get some exercise time into your routine. Such organizations match your activity interests with those of the person with special needs.

I will add more ways to get fit in upcoming posts as well.

Lastly, 101 Workouts for Women: Everything You Need to Get a Lean, Strong and Fit Physique is a book published by Muscle & Fitness Hers Magazine, which gives people tons of ideas on how to work out.

My fitness background consists of gymnastics, long-distance running, track & field, basketball, badminton, and volleyball. I have won several events throughout my high school involvement in track and distance running and have trained with the best coach in Western Canada, some of whose athletes have gone on to Olympics (while they went on to incredible athletic careers I went on to the Internet....just kidding). In university, I took a few courses on fitness and nutrition with an award winning health and wellness consultant, and the host of an internationally syndicated television fitness show.

In the comments below, state your favorite way of getting exercise without going to the gym :)

I wish you all the best in achieving your fitness goals! I know you can do it when you put your mind to it.

Thank you for reading,


  1. I have an elliptical trainer in my living room (no room to put it anywhere else in my small condo). I cancelled my cable TV subscriptions and bought some of my favorite Korean TV dramas instead. Most of the episodes are 50-60 minutes long so I put an episode in the DVD player and start it up. After the show is over, I've been on there for an hour and hardly noticed the time passing by.

  2. That is great! Elliptical trainers are amazing and one of my top choice of exercise machines as well. It's wonderful to be able to exercise while watching your favorite show! Keep up the great workouts!

  3. thanks for sharing these tips! I enjoy running for a cause with my friends (^__^)

  4. I gave up my gym membership when the economy took a nose-dive. I walk every night after my long work day - rain or shine, I walk a minimum of three miles a day - up to five. I think I could have walked from San Diego to New York City by now. It has become a part of me, great for my health, weight control, and stress relief! It is simple - but it works for me. :)

  5. my favorite exercise is dance. while I do go to class (and thus spend money), I also just dance around in my living room to music. great way to burn calories and it's fun so it doesn't feel like exercise! I also rent workout videos through netflix, and there are a lot of workouts on youtube as well.


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