Staying Fit On A Budget

workin out on balance box
image via Teran61

The older that I have gotten, the more that I have noticed how important that it is to stay fit and healthy. And since I work from home, I end up spending far too much time sitting on my rear in front of a computer. To make matters worse, it seems like every time that I start browsing the interwebs there is another article telling me how too much sitting will put me in an early grave – like this article that I recently saw.

When I lived in an apartment complex, finding cheap ways to stay fit was super easy. Most apartment buildings have a free fitness center for residents to use. And some even have a swimming pool that you can use. While I do not always take advantage of the pool, I am a fan of using the fitness center.

But what happens when you buy your own home or move into a rental that doesn’t offer any free fitness related amenities? Well, if you’re like me, then you start to see you waistline slowly expanding. Okay, so I may be exaggerating a wee bit, but I am certainly not as healthy as I was when I had free access to a gym.

Since I am still working on paying down some debt, I am not too keen on adding a monthly gym membership fee to my bill calendar. My checking account isn’t too thrilled about the idea either. So, I have been doing on brainstorming on ways that I keep fit without breaking the budget. And though freebie ways to stay fit are preferable, I am not opposed to cheap or low cost one-time fees.

Cheap Ways To Exercise And Stay Fit

After some brainstorming, I have come up with a few ideas on how I can get in some daily exercise without spending a fortune on a monthly gym membership. I wanted to share them here in case any other finance-conscious people find themselves in a similar waist-expanding predicament.

Option 1 – start biking

Pros: gets me outside enjoying nature, will not be boring, good leg workout

Cons: not appealing in bad weather, can’t do in the snow, high cost initially

Costs: bikes have a wide price range so I used this site to find cheap options that are quality. Looks like around $300 is the cheapest that i can go. The same site has some helmet recommendations that price them at around $50 for a good quality option. That gets me to $350 up front if I just wear some regular workout clothes and shoes. And, it’s not considering any repairs or upkeep.

Conclusion: $350 is a lot of up front money for something that I can’t do all year long

Option 2 – fitness videos at home

Pros: can do any time of year, don’t have to leave home, no equipment required, plenty of free options available

Cons: might get bored because I’ll always be stuck inside

Costs: no extra costs unless I want to pay for a Netflix subscription or buy some videos up front. Plenty of free ones on YouTube though.

Conclusion: free is the ultimate in budget friendly and I can do it all year long. This is probably best as a combo with something else to reduce boredom and target different muscle groups.

Option 3 – get a job at a gym

Pros: don’t have to pay to use the gym, earn extra money

Cons: taking on another job leaves little time for fitness

Costs: gas money and time

Conclusion: good option if I had more time and definitely something to keep in mind for the future. I actually worked part-time at a YMCA in college and got use of their gym and pool in my off hours.

Option 4 – buy some home gym equipment

Pro: can do in any weather since I don’t have to leave home, good way to get in a serious workout

Cons: still keeps me stuck inside, need space for the equipment, upfront cost could be substantial, might not target enough areas of body

Costs: can be anything from cheap to expensive – a simple kettlebell is under $30 but things like rowing machines can range from less than $300 to well over $1000 (looks like around $500 gets you a decent machine)

Conclusion: upfront cost could be high, or I could buy a few different cheaper things to mix up my workouts

So, those are really the options that I have come up with for now. I really like the idea of taking up biking in the afternoons, but I am just not sure that I can justify the cost when I do not live in a city where I can use the bike all year long. I might look into used bikes though and see if that would lower the cost enough for it to be a good idea.

Other than that, I think that I will use a combo approach with the free videos on YouTube and some cheap fitness equipment (kettlebells, yoga mat, resistance bands, etc.). How do you stay fit on a budget?

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