Investing in Yourself: Frugal Fitness

Investing in Yourself: Frugal Fitness

“How I Got My Body Back After Baby!!” the headline screams. The picture of a new celeb mom’s impossibly toned and tanned physique grabs your eye as you wait in the grocery store’s checkout line.

Yeah right, huh? You're right: to shed post-baby poundage, that celebrity probably had access to an incredible personal trainer and a fabulous private chef (who only prepared the yummiest low-cal diet food possible).

If you’re anything like me, affording such help is out of the question; there’s simply no room in the family budget. What's an average American parent to do? Take heart: getting fit doesn't have to mean shrinking your wallet. Here are some frugal ideas to improve your health:

Hit the Library

I am a self-proclaimed library nut. Whatever the subject, you’re sure to find something about it under the library’s roof, and fitness-related material is no exception. In fact, on a recent trip to my small, local library, I found shelves upon shelves of books pertaining to diet, exercise, and just about any health condition known to man.

Plus, the resources weren’t outdated at all. If you’re looking to get fit, the library can be a wonderful and extremely cheap resource. From books on diets to healthy recipe cookbooks to exercise videos, you can certainly find some inspiration to jump-start a fitness plan or inject some liveliness in a routine that’s gone a bit stale.

Involve the Kiddos

Moms (and dads!) with young children often find it difficult to carve enough time out of the day to incorporate exercise.The desire to keep active is there, but time is elusive. The time spent daily on work, school, chores, and family can make the day fly.

So why not combine a few of these activities? Make playing with your children into a workout that gets your heart pumping and lets you connect with your children. As an added bonus, this is one workout that won’t require a hefty gym fee. Need a few ideas to get started?

  • Head outside during nice weather for a rousing game of tag.
  • Visit (and use) all of the biking or walking paths within a twenty mile radius of your home.
  • Turn up the music at home for an impromptu dance fest.

Every bit of exercise counts. Why not make it fun and family friendly?

Check Your Benefits

If you have health insurance, give customer service a call to see if your plan offers any discounts on health club memberships. My husband recently used a debit card from our insurance to cover a huge portion of a local aquatic center’s annual fee. Although we did spend some out of pocket cash, the card covered over seventy-five percent of the cost.

Even if your health insurance doesn’t have this particular perk, it might offer discounts or savings on other health-related services such as fitness or healthy living classes. It never hurts to ask, and you may just end up saving some money.

Community Education

Don’t discount community education classes. Your community may offer a good selection of exercise classes at pretty reasonable prices, and the classes are generally offered at a variety of times throughout the year. A recent selection of classes for adults in our local community education brochure included Zumba, belly dancing, line dancing, swimming, and hall walking. Although they weren’t free, the prices were so low that cutting out a weekly lunch at McDonald’s from your budget could cover the class (bonus points for cutting a fast food meal from your diet!).

Losing inches from the waist doesn’t have to mean your wallet becomes slim as well. A little searching and creative thinking will get you on the road to good health without detouring you from the road to solid financial well-being.

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Ravi Gupta's picture

Ravi Gupta wrote:

Thu, 04/21/2011 - 12:51 Comment #: 1

Excellent points! Fitness can definitely be frugal. There are so many body exercises one can do from the comfort of their own home that gym membership is not needed. I use to sepnd $15 / month for a gym membership, I then decided to invest in some olympic rings and a jump rope. Within a couple of months I was able to recoup my investment and now I can exercise whenever I want.

-Ravi Gupta

Melinda Gregory's picture

Melinda Gregory wrote:

Thu, 04/21/2011 - 22:08 Comment #: 2

Ravi - I totally agree! If money is tight, you can still get fit - all you really need to be rich in is motivation!