Skip the Gym Membership and Get Fit for Free
Who has a couple of New Years’ resolutions in mind for 2010?
I know I do.
In the spirit of healthiness, many Americans want to become more health conscious. And health conscious resolutions usually involve a gym membership, diet, and “dream weight” on the scale.
However, as many of us start this New Year, we will have a tighter clutch on our wallets. Save money by bypassing the gym membership and creating your own exercise at home or searching for free and low-cost fitness classes in your neighborhood. Break a sweat without breaking your bank and save money for better food shopping and your savings.
Membership Fee: approx. $75
+ Monthly Fee: approx. $30
= Roughly $435 Per Year.
I am not bashing gyms. I have a gym membership and regularly attend my gym but also replicate similar workouts in my apartment and/or through free fitness classes.
For the past 6 months, I’ve attended free weekly aerobic classes through a New York City fitness initiative, Shape Up New York. They offer classes throughout all of New York City from kick-boxing to yoga! These types of fitness classes normally are only available through a gym membership. Check out your local neighborhood recreation centers, gyms, and churches for free or low-cost fitness programs.
In terms of exercising from home, try these 10 simple but quality movements. Create stations and combinations or do them as stand-alone sessions.
These cardio exercises will get your heart pumping and are friendly to anyone’s physical fitness level.
Dancing – No equipment, coordination, or judgement needed! There is no correct form so create a favorite at-home music playlist and dance your heart out.
Front & Side Hops – Basically hopscotch for adults! Place two long pieces of masking tape on the floor that will form a “plus” sign. Use the tape as a line to do lateral and frontal hops. Alternate between one-foot and two-feet hops.
Jump Roping…without the Rope – A great from of aerobic exercise that also strengthens your ankles and shoulder muscles. Pretend you have a rope in your hands and mimic the same movements.
Walking – Blistery cold or un-ideal walking weather may keep you indoors but you can still make the most of it. If you must stay inside, walk the halls and stairs of your house or apartment complex. Mix up your speed and stride length.
Lifting your own body weight is the one of the best forms of strength training.
Push-ups – By far, are one of the best exercises for overall strength conditoning. If you are unable to complete a “plank” push-up(on your hands with straight legs), you can still benefit from “knee” push-ups.
Spiral Arm Circles – Extend your arms straight out to both sides. Pretend the tips of your fingers are gradually tracing circular sizes from that of a quarter to a monster-truck tire. Complete in both directions.
Shoulder Raises – Keep your shoulders relaxed and extend your arms over your head as if you were horizontally holding a broomstick. Lower your shoulders to shoulder-level and then raise to the ceiling.
Front & Side Lunges – Stand with feet slightly shoulder-width apart. Lunge your right foot to the front, right side, back, and left side as if you were touching the “12, 3, 6, and 9” positions on the face of a clock. Repeat with your left foot.
Leg lifts – These can be done while watching TV or reading a magazine! Lie on your side and place your legs one on top of the other. Without using your upper body, fully extend your top leg and then lower it back onto your bottom leg.
Sit-Ups – Loosely keep your hands behind your neck. Do not use them to raise your upper body. Also, point your chin towards the ceiling as curl your body forward.
Once you have mastered these exercises with your own body weight, be creative and use hand “weights” from around the house: cans/jars of food, water bottles, and/or laundry detergent containers. Fill your weights with water to the desired weight if the original contents weight is too heavy. As always, consult with your doctor before trying any new fitness routines.
There! Now we have no excuses not to keep those health conscious resolutions. Good luck and save some bucks!