Fitness – it’s a word we hear a lot these days, from news stories about the hottest exercise trend to infomercials for the latest workout gadget. Sometimes, it seems like in order to improve our fitness we have to run out and buy a ton of costly equipment or enroll in a pricey exercise class. Unfortunately, these days everyone is tightening their budget, and often the gym membership is the first thing to go. The good news is we can still maintain and even improve our fitness if we keep a few simple tips in mind.
I’ve worked in the field of health education for many years, and one of the things I emphasize is that staying fit doesn’t have to be extremely difficult or expensive. Over the years, I have collected fitness tips that require little or no money and can be used by folks of all ages, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites here.
Two things to keep in mind before you check out my suggestions -
1) If you haven’t been active before, but want to improve your fitness, take it slow and easy in the beginning and stick with it. Each week, set a new realistic goal for yourself and you’ll notice your fitness improving in just a few weeks.
2) If you haven’t had a physical exam in the last couple of years, I recommend getting a complete checkup and medical clearance before starting an exercise plan.
These fitness tips can help you burn calories and maintain a healthy weight, and perhaps even improve your overall mood as well.
- Break your activity up into 10 minute sessions. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to set aside a thirty minute period to exercise, go for a ten minute walk in the morning, then another at lunch time, then do a ten minute exercise and stretching session in the evening.
- Team up with friends or relatives who are also interested in improving their fitness. It’s amazing how a little social support from like-minded individuals can help you stick with a healthy habit. Challenge each other to a weekly goal such as meeting for a thirty to sixty minute walk or run.
- Invest $10 to $30 in a set of hand-weights or resistance tubing that you can use at home. A set of hand-weights (dumb bells) will last forever and greatly increase the types of exercises you can perform. Have you ever used resistance tubing for muscle toning and strengthening? If not, give it a try. It’s versatile, portable, and best of all, inexpensive.
- Start an activity journal. Keeping track your workouts or physical activity is one of the easiest ways to stick with a fitness routine. It can be as simple as recording the date you exercised, the type of activity, and the amount of time you spent doing it. You can simply use a small notebook, or try one of the exercise journal apps available for mobile devices, such as Runkeeper.
- Exercise while watching TV. Are there some nights when you can’t pull yourself away from the TV to go for that walk or workout? Don’t worry, you can still burn calories and do some muscle toning without missing your show. While you’re watching that favorite program, get off the couch and walk in place or do exercises such as push-ups or crunches every time a commercial comes on.
Of course, there are many more great fitness tips that can help us shed those extra pounds and stay in shape. I hope the ones I’ve listed above offer some motivation to get moving and stay active. Do you do something that helps you stick with your exercise or activity? If so, let’s hear about them in your comments. Maybe in another post I could list some of your favorites.