Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tightwad tuesday: economical exercise

In my very first Tightwad Tuesday, I mentioned that walking is one of the best bargains ever because it requires no special equipment, no memberships, no outlay of cash. Few forms of exercise are so adaptable in terms of fitting your schedule and personal needs; you can walk fast or slow depending on your fitness level, at any time of day, with others or alone, in most kinds of weather, and no matter where you live.

Walking is an economical form of exercise time-wise, too, in that you can work out getting somewhere you need to go or while burning off tension when you're feeling stressed. Personally, I love to go first thing in the morning while my husband and kids are still in bed: I don't have to worry about child care; I can plan, even pray, for my day while I'm walking; and I still get home to eat breakfast and shower before the kids are up so I feel like I hit the ground running.

There other ways to get a cheap workout, too. Consider getting a membership at the local community pool instead of a fitness club or gym. Many community centers also have an exercise room with machines and weights, and offer quarterly and yearly passes, as well as punch passes (so you get a discount but are only paying for when you actually work out).

Check out exercise videos and DVDs from your local library, especially if you are considering purchasing some. You can find out if you enjoy exercising in your own home and discover if you are actually motivated using that method. Library loaners can help in determining what form of exercise works for you (pilates? yoga? aerobics? martial arts?) before you commit to a purchase.

Just remember: the key is to be creative. And honest. If there's one form of exercise you really prefer, it will be worth shopping around to find the best prices, and then investing in quality equipment so that you will actually work out. Because being healthy is one of the best ways of all to save money.

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