Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Finances and Fitness

Many people use a lack of finances as an excuse to avoid fitness. Yes, being filthy rich would make it much easier to be fit. Expendable income could mean more free time to spend exercising. Money to spend on personal trainers, ideal equipment and a personal chef would be ideal. Unless you won the lottery, figuratively or literally, you don't get to have the ideal; you have to work within reality. That does not mean you have no hope of living a healthy, fit life, though. There are many, many ways to achieve fitness on a budget.

Walking: There is minimal cost to beginning a walking program. The only needs are a comfortable pair of shoes and socks. If it's cold outside, you would need winter wear, but it can be the exact same items you wear the rest of the time. There is no need to buy special clothing to begin a walking program. You don't even need to venture far from home, if at all. You can walk around the block, up and down your hallway, or around your yard.

Running: Just like walking, the only equipment needed are a good pair of shoes and socks. I do recommend going to a good shoe store and getting the shoes fitted for running. I would also try to avoid cotton socks, but sweat-wicking socks can be bought for about the same price as cotton. If you're a woman, you will also need a good sports bra, but if that's outside your budget, you can wear a good normal bra with a cheaper sports bra over it. Again, it's not ideal, but as long as it keeps the bouncing to a minimum, it will work. As with walking, you don't really need to venture very far. I have done interval training by running around my block repeatedly for 30 minutes.

Resistance: You can work most muscles without any weights, other than your body. Push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, crunches, squats, planks, and leg lifts are all exercises where you can use gravity and your body weight to challenge your muscles. There are about as many of these exercises as there are muscles in your body. For a few dollars, you can also buy resistance bands, which work like hand-weights, but cost less and take up less room. You can also use old, handled beverage containers filled with water as hand weights.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. If you want more cardio, you can buy a jumprope. You can also search online for fitness videos. There are yoga, Tai chi, stretching, and many other fitness videos available on youtube, netflix and cable's On Demand features. As always, the internet has as much bad information as good information, so you'll have to weed through the crap to get to the good stuff. I think it's worth it to get healthier, though.

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