Friday, May 11, 2012

Frugal Friday: Frugal Exercise Ideas

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and a healthy family. Some people think they need to get all dudded out with designer exercise clothes, treadmills, gym passes, or other work out materials BEFORE they can get in shape. From my experience, those people are only partially committed to a healthy lifestyle. And those commitments fade even sometimes before the clothes do. Don't get me wrong, nice equipment is great in a workout program, but it's not essential. And if you don't have or don't want to spend the money on it, here are some ideas for exercise that you can do without all the extras.
  1. Work in the yard - Especially during springtime there is so much yard work to do. Mowing the lawn, picking weeds, tilling and planting the garden. All of those count as exercise and are fun to do together with your family.
  2. Bike rides - Got some old bikes lying around unused? Pump up the tires and go for a bike ride. Nothing fancy, just ride around the neighborhood. This is one of our family's favorite things to do together. I love it because we count it as family time AND exercise.
  3. Walking - This is something you can do for free just about everywhere. If you live withing walking distance of the park or playground or library, walk instead of drive. It may take a few minutes longer, but it's not time unused. We love to go on walks as a family, at night especially. We've found that having a destination always work best.  
  4. Hiking - There's something about hiking that is so fulfilling and invigorating. You're not just running on a treadmill going nowhere. You're seeing things, going places and making memories. We love to hike with our kids, but sometimes it can be challenging. We like to have a pocket full of "turbo boosters" (dried fruit, trail mix, nuts, etc) to help the lagging kids get a "turbo boost" of speed.
  5. Swim, run through the sprinklers, or have a water fight - There are lots of places around you can swim for free - lakes, rivers, the neighbor's house, etc. Swimming is excellent exercise and fun too. If you live somewhere where those options aren't available, then turn on the sprinklers and run around or start a water fight with your family.
  6. Play - Tag, soccer, kickball, baseball, basketball. All of those are great ways to spend time with kids, make memories AND get your exercise.
  7. Turn on some music and have a dancing party - In our family we love to play the piano and the kids love it when one parent plays and the other gets up and starts dancing around with them. It's so much fun (and it really wears you out!). If you don't have a piano, turn on the radio or ipod. Good music is good for the soul and good for the body if you get up and move!
  8. Play the Penny Game - If you live in an area that has tall buildings, you might try out this game that we love to play. Find a building that has a large stairwell (we use one with 13 stair flights but 8-10 would be fine too). The stair flights have to be open in the center for this to work. Climb up the stairs. Each family member selects a penny with a different year (that's how you'll distinguish between them). Each person drops their penny down the center of the stair well from the very top. Then everyone walks down the stairs looking for their penny. Find out who's went down the farthest. Then repeat over and over until your legs give out from walking up and down the stairs. You can have prizes for whose went the farthest on one drop, who had the least number of drops to the bottom, etc. It's really fun and you don't even notice you're getting exercise going up and down the stairs.
Well I hope that gets your wheels turning. A healthy lifestyle is more about getting into healthy habits than it is about having costly workout equipment on hand. Our grandparents and great grandparents never had to have it. They were just active every day of their lives and didn't look for ways to get out of it like we sometimes do. For example, I've seen people circle parking lots dozens of times to find a close parking space rather than just walking a couple of extra feet. These kinds of people are always looking for the "easy way". The least amount of effort for the most gain. The quickest, fastest, fad diet to lose weight. The exercise program that does the work for you.  What they are really looking for won't be found in these shortcuts. Healthy lifestyles and healthy families don't come ready-made, prepackaged, or in instant packets where you "just add water". Healthy lifestyles and healthy families take work and they take effort, but the payoffs are rich. Yes, it really is worth it! And yes, YOU CAN DO IT!

Linked to: Frugal Friday, Thrifty Thursday, Homemaking Linkup

3 comments:

Crystal @ Serving Joyfully said...

This is so true! I am fighting a weight-loss battle right now, and so many people are discouraging about it, telling me I'll never be able to do it. Telling me that exercising and eating right never worked for them. They forget to add that they only tried it for a week.

I just wrote a post on Wednesday about the spiritual journey involved in weight loss.

Thanks for the ideas! I do a lot of these things, because I'm determined to help show others that the only thing you NEED to lose weight is something that can't be bought--motivation, dedication, determination...attitude.

Heather {Healthy Family Cookin} said...

Crystal thanks for sharing. I love what you said at the end, "I'm determined to help show others that the only thing you NEED to lose weight is something that can't be bought - motivation, dedication, determination...attitude". That is wonderful and what a great goal. Good luck in your journey! I know it'll be worth it!

femmefrugality said...

These are such great ideas! I, too, refuse to pay for the gym, but I am determined to lose baby pounds! I do a lot of floor exercises along with the tips above.

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