Health Advocate Blog

Fun, free and low-cost ways to work out

Maybe you know bikini season is just around the corner, or maybe you just want to be more fit and lead a healthier lifestyle—but either way, you don’t want to spend much money. Luckily, there are plenty of great, inexpensive ways to exercise and be active. Below, we’ve compiled some clever ideas to help you get fitter faster…all of which you can do on the cheap!

Get your walk on outside.
• When the weather is nice and you are in a safe and well-lit environment, park your car in the farthest corner of the office/grocery store/etc parking lot.
• Take the dog for an extra lap or two around the block.
• Mow the lawn…using a push mower, not a riding mower.
• If it’s autumn, bring out the ol’ rake and rake the backyard. (Feeling generous and/or want more of a workout? Offer to rake your next-door neighbor’s yard, too.)
• In the winter, shoveling snow makes a great workout—it involves walking, muscle strength and cardio.
• Visit your community pool…even if you don’t want to swim, you can still get some good exercise by walking in the shallow end of the pool.
• Enjoy golfing? On your next trip to the golf course, don’t rent a golf cart—instead, walk from hole to hole.
• Have a few spare minutes at the end of your lunch break? Use them to take a brisk walk around your office before heading back to your desk.

Exercise indoors.
• Vacuum the house several times a week—this can actually increase your heart rate.
• Pace or walk in place while talking on the phone.
• You don’t have to join an exercise class or purchase fitness DVDs—visit your local library and check out a fitness DVD that interests you. Don’t feel like working out alone? Invite friends or family members to work out with you.
• Grocery shopping? Push your cart up and down each aisle of the store, not just the aisles you’re most interested in browsing. Also, consider using self-checkout—scanning and bagging your own groceries is a sneaky way to fit in more exercise.
• Walk the mall—and take the stairs (not the escalator) to the second floor.
• Do simple exercises—sit-ups, squats, jumping jacks, etc—during the commercial breaks of your favorite TV shows.
• Reorganize your kitchen. Lifting and moving the items in your kitchen cabinets can be quite a workout!

Get more active.
• Want to do more squats? Weed your garden.
• Jump rope. It’s not just for elementary school kids—it’s a great cardio workout. Plus, it’s inexpensive–you can buy a jump rope in your local dollar store.
• Build something. Whether you’re building window boxes for flowers or a backyard play fort for your child, all that hammering and nailing will definitely get you moving and sweating!
• Just dance. Plug in your MP3 player or pop in your favorite CD and do a little dancing!
• Babysit. Minding toddlers will definitely keep you active and on your feet…and it’ll keep you on your toes, too!
• Wash and wax your car yourself instead of taking it to a car wash.

Don’t forget to check with your employer to find out if they offer any free or low-cost ways to get fit. Many employers offer free on-site or subsidized off-site fitness classes or gym memberships, or other healthy perks.

For more healthy tips, visit the Health Advocate blog. If you’re a Health Advocate member, call us today for more healthy tips and advice, or to find an in-network doctor near you, get help with a medical claim, obtain a second opinion, and more.