Fascinating Frugal Fitness
Dear Rich Lifer,
When people start thinking about saving money, they often look for areas to cut costs, and gym memberships are usually one of the first line items to get cut.
It makes perfect sense – with some gyms charging upwards of $200 per month, it just doesn’t work out to be worth the price tag for most people.
On the other hand, exercise is important, and it becomes evenmore important as we age.
After all, people who remain active tend to have great health benefits – things like better bone density, improved flexibility, and lower incidences of diabetes and heart disease.
And it’s not just the physical benefits, there are mental health benefits, too. Per the CDC, exercising in our later years has been linked to a reduction in “symptoms of anxiety and depression and fosters improvements in mood and feelings of well-being.”
In other words, even though gyms and fancy exercise equipment might be costly, we really need to find ways to stay active and fit.
That unfortunately leaves many feeling like they have to pony up $200 per month to stay healthy and mentally fit.
Luckily, there are tons of programs out there that will help you get your exercise in without breaking the bank.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Exercising At Home
Load Up On Multipurpose Equipment
Instead of splashing out and spending five grand or more on one of those big do-it-all weight machines, look for quality multi-purpose equipment you can score on the cheap.
Things like kettlebells, exercise balls, and adjustable-weight dumbbells can be used for a variety of exercises, and they can usually be purchased for $50 or less.
You should also consider purchasing a yoga mat, thera-bands, a foam roller, and a Bosu ball. They will make great additions to your home gym set up.
Turn On Your TV
Remember back in the day how people would put a check in the mail to order a tape of the latest exercise program from Jane Fonda or Billy Blanks?
Updated versions of those classic programs are still available, and getting access to them is easier than ever, thanks to smart TVs and streaming services. Popular services like Beachbody on Demand are less than $100 for the whole year. Depending on your provider, you might already have access to some fitness channels for free!
For example, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you already have access to full body workouts, ab workouts, and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) programs at no additional charge.
If you don’t have any of these channels, and you still don’t want to spend a dime, you’re in luck! There are hundreds of fitness channels available on YouTube, so you can start working out any time you want without any additional cost.
Fit It In With Apps
Let’s say it’s been a while since you worked out and you’re feeling guilty but you just don’t have enough time to get in a good workout, even with your home gym.
Apps like 7 Minute Workout could be a great addition for you. This free app is the #1 fitness app in 127 countries – and for good reason. It guides you through a full body workout in under ten minutes, there are text and video descriptions of every exercise so there’s no confusion – and again, it’s free!
If 7 Minute Workout doesn’t suit your fancy, there are tons of other free workout apps you can try out until you find one that you like.
Exercising Out And About
Get Into Running
Running, jogging, and even walking are wonderful exercises for everyone, and you can’t beat the $0 price tag. If you do choose to take up running or walking seriously, you should consider spending money on a good pair of shoes and you’ll be good to go for miles and miles.
Community Yoga Classes
If yoga is more your speed, look into local events and classes. Many communities and municipalities offer yoga in the park on a regular basis. This is a great way to get outside, meet new people, and improve your mental, physical, and spiritual fitness.
Swimming, Tennis, and Basketball
You might not have a pool or court of your own, but that’s ok!
Look around your community. Many subdivisions have shared basketball and tennis courts, and some have shared pools, as well. If your community doesn’t have one, check out the neighboring subdivisions. Some of them will have these amenities and you might be able to access them for a small fee, too.
If you enjoy communing with nature while you get fit, look at your local and state parks. Many parks have great hiking trails, and some parks even have extra fitness goodies installed, too.
At my local parks, I’ve seen everything from rock walls, high-quality resistance equipment and even a suggested exercise parcourses.
Your neighborhood park probably has these hidden gems, too, and even if they don’t? A walk in nature beats just sitting around the house any day!
Even with all these tips, some people are simply more motivated to work out and stay in shape when they are surrounded by other people doing the same. So if you are going to stick with the gym, keep in mind, there are gyms, and then there are mega-gyms.
These “mega-gyms” are massive buildings that often have workout floors and classes, cafes and even spas inside, but with all that luxury comes a mega price tag. If you’re the type to want a luxurious experience, this might be the right choice for you, but if you want to just get in, work out, and move on with your life, there’s really no sense in paying for all the extra bells and whistles.
Instead of signing up at the flashiest gym with the best commercials, shop around. You might find something smaller, less expensive and ultimately perfect for you.
If you do decide the mega-gym is more your speed, wait until January to join. These centers of all things health and wellness will often drop prices and waive enrollment fees just to capitalize on the New Year’s Resolution crowd, and these savings are significant enough to be worth the wait.
With all of these ways to save while you get fit, there’s practically no reason to turn into a couch potato in your retirement.
Get out there, get fit, and look and feel as good as you possibly can!
To a richer life,