Fitness: exercising on a budget

Are you living from paycheck to paycheck? Are you struggling to save money each month? Or maybe you just don’t have the extra cash to put aside for an expensive gym membership that you’ll never use? Are you looking for workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home without spending thousands of dollars on expensive equipment that will eventually be used as a clothes hanger?

Image result for treadmill clothes hanger

Hey, we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. When I dropped the weight ten years ago, I too was living from paycheck to paycheck. I had no interest in joining a gym. I spent a lot of time doing research into ways I could get fit without spending a dime.

Here are some things I tried at home – and they really worked!

Go for a walk!

Get off the couch and go for walk! That’s what everyone says. Walking is free. It’s great for the body and helps to keep the muscles moving. It’s also easy on the joints and for those of us who aren’t in our twenties anymore, it’s one of the easier activities we can do. And – it’s free!

I kind of miss my old building. It was massive and stretched down two city blocks. In winter months when it was too cold or icy, or too dark to go for an evening walk – I would throw on my runners and grab my Ipod. It wasn’t even my idea really. I saw an Asian lady who lived on the main floor do this almost every night. And I thought, if she could do it – so could. This is what I did three nights a week in winter months.

  1. Walk from one end of the floor to the other (about 3 minutes)
  2. Walk up a flight of stairs to the next floor (about 1-2 minutes)
  3. Repeat until reach the 5th floor (about 15-20 minutes) depending on speed
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for an additional 10-15 minutes of walking

And I would repeat this until I had made it to the fifth floor. Even with power walking, this took about 15-20 minutes. If I was really suffering from cabin fever, I would take a lap outside the building- just once because it can get really cold in winter months.

The building I live in now is very small in comparison. Other than climbing stairs there really isn’t much I can do here. I’m so glad that it’s spring now and I can get outside again.

And yes WALKING IS EXERCISE! Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t. It’s a form of cardio. It’s easy on the joints unless you have an injury. Walking outdoors is great because you also get some fresh air and sunshine along the way.

Strength Training

Strength training was a big part of my workout back in 2010 when I first started losing the weight. I eventually picked up a cheap set of 5 lb dumbbells from Winners about two months into my fitness challenge – that I still have ten years later and a resistance band. If you can’t find the cash to buy a kettle bell or dumbbell, you have alternatives.

  • Fill up a 4 litre milk jug with water and use those to work your arms.
  • Heavy cans of soup or jars for arm curls
  • Use heavy books like encyclopedias
  • Paper weights

Just grab anything that weighs between 2-5 pounds and use it as a replacement for dumbbells or at least until you can afford a set of dumbbells of your own. You can buy them almost anywhere now.

I’ll create another post to share what equipment I use at home. My “home gym” cost about $200 all together to build and I’ve had the equipment for over five years.

Yoga, Pilates, Dance

Thanks to websites like youtube, there are literally thousands of videos for you to check out and try new workouts in the comfort of your own home. And the best part of it is – youtube is free to use. Just grab a towel and place it on the floor. A yoga mat will do but they can be very expensive.

If you’re worried about noise because you live in an apartment building, then look into pilates, yoga, or chair workouts. Here are just a few channels to get you started.

Yoga with Adriene


Hip-Hop Tabata

Dance Cardio Workout

Chair Exercises

What do you to maximize your budget when it comes to fitness? Leave a comment below!

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