Frugal Fitness

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Getting in shape can be expensive. Just shop around for gym memberships, fitness equipment or a personal trainer, and you’ll see just how much it can cost. But people were exercising long before any of those concepts were ever thought of, and paying little or no money to do so. There’s no reason that we can’t benefit from the same types of exercise today.

Getting a good workout doesn’t require all the latest fitness equipment and training. You can get good results on a small (or even non-existent) budget. Here are some ways to do it.

* Walk, run or jog. These activities do not require any special equipment. You will need a comfortable and supportive pair of athletic shoes, but that’s something you would need if you were going to the gym, too. There’s no need to pay for access to a track, either. Going around the block a few times works just as well.

* Crank up some energetic tunes and dance. Who needs a dance class when you can cut loose right in your own home? You might or might not know all of the latest moves, but just letting the music move you provides a fine workout. And if you’re having fun with it, you’ll be more likely to stick with your workout routine.

* Go to the library. This act alone won’t get you in shape, but getting a library card and borrowing some exercise videos can help. Borrowing videos lets you try before you buy, so you don’t have to worry about paying for a video that’s not your style or is above your fitness level.

* If you want exercise equipment, see if you can find it second-hand. Check garage sales and classified ads. Fitness equipment takes up a lot of room, so those who want to get rid of it are often willing to let it go at a fraction of what it would cost new.

* Find a place to swim for free. If you have a friend who has a pool, you might be able to use it to work out at no cost. Some schools also have pools that the public can use for free during certain hours.

* Take advantage of free fitness websites. One of the most popular is SparkPeople.com, which provides personalized diet and exercise plans and lots of support at no cost whatsoever.

* Play ball, throw a Frisbee or ride a bike with your kids. These activities give you some quality time together while promoting physical fitness for everyone involved.

Fitness isn’t only for the wealthy. If we put aside those notions that we must have the latest fitness equipment or individualized training, it’s easy to see how getting in shape can be cheap or free. So don’t let a lack of funds stop you from pursuing your fitness goals. Just get out and get active!

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