Because typical low-cost outdoor activities may be out of the question in cold winter months, some assume costly health clubs are the only option for staying fit. But that’s not always the case, says Lynn Bode, a fitness expert and owner of Workoutsforyou.com. The key, she says, is sticking to a routine. "Bottom line – bears may hibernate, but humans should not."
Here are six budget-friendly ways to stay active during the colder months.
Many people like to waltz around their living room for a few minutes, but if you spend a significant amount of time kicking up your heels to the music – it will automatically be a great way to burn calories, recommends fitness expert Matt Fitzgerald. "Find a good music channel on your television and just dance for half an hour," he says.
Pick up a Winter Sport
Experts say there's nothing better than actually taking advantage of what the cold (and snow) have to offer. "Go with the flow of the seasons by participating in fun winter activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice skating," says Fitzgerald. To save money, checkout deals for their off-peak times like weekday evenings, or buy tickets in bulk.
A great way to save money on pricey gym classes is by practicing Pilates, aerobics or yoga from the comfort of your living room. "Visit your local library to browse for (DVD) options that you can check out for free," recommends Bode, who adds that you'll also save commute time and gas money by working out at home.
Join a Recreational League
Indoor volleyball, soccer or other team sports don't cost a cent, but they can help you get that necessary cardio workout. It's also a fun way to stay fit, explains Bode, "The social aspect will help you stay motivated because you have fun while staying active." Check community calendars for upcoming leagues.
Create a Home Gym
There's no need to splurge for heavy duty workout equipment, says Bode, who adds that it can cost as little as $40. "Buy equipment that will get you a total body workout - grab a stability ball for working on balance, core strength and even resistance training; small dumbbells for strength training, and a jump rope for cardio workouts," she explains.
Refocus Your Goals
While building cardio strength is easy with an outdoor run in the summer, lifting weights and building up muscle can be a better winter goal and will help you work your body in a different – yet still needed – way, says Fitzgerald. "For example, if you primarily jog during the warmer seasons, set a goal to build strength over the winter," he explains, which is easier to do in cold weather.