Pump Up Your Muscles For Very Little Money


May is physical fitness month, so ditch the excuses (It’s too expensive! I don’t have time!) and start getting active. You might not have extra resources to pay for a gym, or take classes at a yoga studio, but there’s nothing stopping you from getting fit. “It takes about five seconds to start a habit,” says Stew Smith, a former Navy Seal and certified strength and conditioning specialist. “Your mind is the most powerful tool. However, to physiologically feel the impact of creating fitness as a habit it takes probably 21 days.”

Heading outside with a pair of sneakers is the cheapest way to burn off extra pounds. “If you’re just starting out, anything is something,” says Smith. “Begin by devoting 10 to 15 minutes and increase to 20, 30, and eventually 45 minutes of resistance training or cardiovascular training.” Take baby steps, and you’re more likely to stick with a new regime. “You don’t run a marathon when you first start running and don’t try to do what you did 10 years ago on your first day,” says Smith. “If you’ve got 15 minutes to walk, that’s fine. Just walk.”

Jog outside on a bike bath or hit your local high school track. Look for pull-up bars, or go to a playground with monkey bars and do pull-ups there. Throw in some squats, lunges, pushups and crunches and then run back home to complete a high-impact work-out that’s low-impact on your wallet.

YMCA’s serve more than 20 million people every year, and many of those users are hitting the pool. Many neighborhoods’ have community pools or recreation centers, making taking a dip even cheaper. Swimming is low-impact and easy on your joints while conditioning your entire body to improve cardiovascular health, muscle strength, flexibility and posture. It’s so good for your joints that The Arthritis Foundation sponsors swimming and aquatic aerobics classes nationwide, at a nominal fee (about $6 per class).

Cheap Home Equipment
Getting all the necessary equipment for a full strength training workout can be done in a single trip to Target (TGT). Invest in a medicine ball, stability ball and dumbbells. Dumbbells cost around 50 cents per pound, cheap enough that you can buy them in different weight increments to work arms and legs.

Drink water, it’s free!
It doesn’t matter whether you prefer Coke (KO) or Pepsi,(PEP) Starbucks (SBUX) or tea. Ditch it, and drink more water. Not drinking enough water results in dehydration, making you prone to overheating and inhibiting your ability to sweat. “Dehydration will affect your performance in all areas, cardiovascular, strength and power,” says Smith. So head to the tap and put yourself at a workout advantage.

Free Fitness Information
Don’t waste money on expensive books at Barnes and Noble (BKS) that you’re never going to crack open. Instead, take advantage of the plethora of internet resources. Runnersworld.com and Coolrunning.com offer diet tips, race calendars, forums and workout routines to get you out the door and active. Or subscribe to RealAge.com to receive daily tips that provide that extra umph to get up and go. Did you know exercise leads to better eyesight? Neither did we.

If you liked this story, check out Beyond Ponchos: Green Fashion Gets Stylish. Here’s Where And How You Can Do It, How To Pop Bottles Without Busting Your Budget, and Here’s How To Save Cash By Going Green.


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