I'm a gym rat. While I don't have the rippling muscles or six pack abs to prove it, the last time I visited my physician she said that aside from my rising cholesterol I was in great shape. I can still run a mile in a respectable amount of time and my wife is not grossed out by the sight of me.
This gave me the justification I needed to gleefully whip out my credit card each month and shell out nearly $100 in dues to my super fancy gym. Grant it, the health club was amazing, there's no denying that. They had it all; Olympic-sized pool, racquetball courts, sauna, kids play area and even a health bar with feel-good snacks and protein packed fruit smoothies.
However, with a rising cost of living and recent shakiness in the economy, my wife and I had to find a way to trim that unnecessary gym bill from our budget but still stay in shape. We put on our thinking caps and found (5) FREE ways to stay fit which helped us eliminate our health club bill .
#1-Pick Up Games
Lace up your sneakers and head to the local area parks and recreation area and sniff out a good pick-up basketball or soccer game. Any true lover of team sports will gleefully invite you to join in the mix. Believe it or not, they actually want your company. They don't want to be the only one out there, hunched over, sweating and gasping for air. The great thing about basketball and soccer games is that the only piece of equipment needed for gameplay is a ball and in most cases it's already be there.
#2- Start a "Walk" Group
Walking is one of the oldest forms of personal conditioning. It's great because it's easy to do, you can go at your own pace and its low impact. Finding members should be easy. I suggest starting a team in your community made up of family and neighbors. Because it's a "walk" group as opposed to a runners group it is less intimidating .You don't imagine health nuts and extroverts in running their lungs out as if they are conditioning for a marathon, you envision regular everyday people. I suggest you go walking just after supper before dusk.
#3-Find a community pool
Nearly every neighborhood in America has a community pool. Most of them are outdoor pools but keep searching. If you look hard enough you'll soon find the FREE indoor community pool. I'm not naÃƒÂ¯ve; I know there's a stigma surrounding communal pools. NEWS FLASH: Not all public pools are laden with parasites. There are hundreds of clean watering holes out there. Aquatics are the perfect substitute for aerobic classes at the gym. Naturally, there's nothing like having some buff trainer yell at you and push you to your physical limits but I'll take a pass. I'll achieve my target heart rate by swimming a few laps and doing underwater calisthenics.
#4- Yard work
Wipe that ridiculous look from your face. Yes, I said it, yard work. Green thumbs know that tending to a lawn and garden is cumbersome. In many cases you are outside in the elements for two, three sometimes four hours at a time perfecting you curb appeal. It can be a real workout. With gardening there are loads of body mechanics involved. You need to lift things and dig out holes, pull things out of the ground and squat. You move things and push things not to mention battle fatigue. Suit up, it's time to take back your yard!
#5-Go to the library
This may seem like a weird one but really think about what you do in a library. You walk, and bend, and stretch. Challenge yourself to locate (5) books from five different areas of interest. Grab a cook book, and then a novel, then a how-to book, add an art book then finish off the scavenger hunt by finding a something you have already read. By the time you finish collecting the reserves you'll feel the burn!