Wednesday, April 20, 2011

6 Gym Alternatives

image by Jenny Bunny Bunns

I love my gym membership. I get to go to any location around town that's most convenient for me, and I get to shower and get ready for the rest of my day there. I get to use any of their machines, take any of their classes... Unfortunately when life throws you a curve, and you have to tighten up your budget again, the gym membership is one of the first monthly expense that has to go. So how shall we ever get enough exercise in without our gym AND without spending a fortune on home gym equipment and/or having to have a huge amount of space at home? Well, here are some options....

Free Gym Membership Trials
There are a lot of free gym membership trials out there. Most gyms will give you a one week trial or a 3-day pass. Look out for flyers or brochures at your local coffee shops, health food stores, etc. Also, discount coupon sites such as Groupon, LivingSocial, etc. will also offer things such as unlimited yoga classes or $25 fitness boot camp sessions.

Mini-Trampoline & Jumprope
You can get one for about $40. Jumping can surprisingly get you sweating and your heart pumping! There are even DVD workouts for trampoline work-outs! Some can fold, so it can save you space, as well. Of course, if you're really strapped for cash, a good old-fashioned jumprope is just as good. A decent jumprope starts at $10. Just make sure you jump on softer ground such as your lawn or a carpeted area. Jumping on hard ground might hurt your joints or arches. Also, make sure your rope does not scratch your hardwood floor (if you have one).

Yoga Mat
You need one of these for almost anything you do - yoga, pilates, calisthenics, etc. These can start at $10. This is a MUST have!

Workout Videos
Gaiam puts out some great pilates and yoga videos for people of all levels. For strength and circuit training, I also use Jackie Warner's circuit training DVD. She is awesome her one-minute reps keep you on your toes. I haven't gotten bored yet, and you can use the video over and over, and as you progress, just use heavier weights. Start slowly and build a small collection of videos to rotate to avoid boredom.

Weights and Pull-up Bar
There are sets in which you can add weights onto each bar to save space. These can start at around $70, which is kind of a chunk of money if you're on a budget. So really what you'd need is one set of light weights (like 5 lbs for women, 8 lbs for men), and one set of heavy weights (like 8-10 lbs for women, 12-15 for men). Check on Craigslist for used sets. Or if you have a set of heavy bookends, use that, haha! I have not seen any new pull-up bars (the kind you screw above your doorway) for less than $30. I can't even do one pull-up, but my husband can. The pull-up bar is great, but definitely optional!

Volunteer Work
Why else did I volunteer to shovel gravel at Atlanta Pet Rescue & Adoption last week? I am SO not a manual labor person - but I knew this would work my upper body! And I got to help the doggies have a nice, fresh outdoor pen to play in :) Habitat for Humanity, even volunteering at a nature center - any of these kinds of things that require moderate physical activity would kill two birds with one stone. You'll get some exercise as well as helping your community!

Of course, there are always little things you can add into your lifestyle that would also help you become a bit more active. You can park far away from the store or take the stairs - that extra 20 yards or extra two-story stair climbing will do you more good than you think. When you're sitting at your desk at work, you can do some butt-clenches to tone your glutes, hehehe hahaha. What do I do? I like to skip, gallop, or even prance down the hallway at my workplace. Hey, it's better than nothing! So get active in your life - it'll add on so many more healthy years to your life and improve the quality of life. :)

~Jenny Bunny <3

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