How To Stay Fit On A Budget

stay-fit-on-a-budgetWith the holidays fast-approaching, stress levels can rise as bank account numbers magically decrease. As you spend time, thought, and dollars on celebratory events and gifts (for others, of course), your health and fitness doesn’t have to get cast to the wayside because of finances.

Being a health nut on a budget is possible, and can be just as effective, without breaking the bank. Big brand names in the health industry would have you think otherwise; you need the latest and greatest shoes-sportsbra-pedometer-chafingcream-elliptical-personaltrainer-energygel-deodorant-waterbottle-yogapants. Oh, and don’t forget the sweat bands.

Here are a few ways to maintain your healthy lifestyle and save a few bucks:

Ditch the supplements. While some people may absolutely swear by them, the same nutrients can be found in food. Natural, plant-based food pack the vitamins and minerals your body needs to fuel and recover from a workout. Supplements can be extremely expensive, and may be unnecessary if you eat the right combination of healthy foods.

It’s not a fashion show. Comfort is a necessity when you’re considering workout clothes, but paying top dollar for a tank top can be frivolous. Although one of the ‘cardinal’ rules is to avoid cotton clothing, many people (myself included) wear baggy t-shirts, sport shorts and *gasp* cotton socks to exercise in. I may not be the most fashion-forward when it comes to workout clothes, but I don’t particularly care what I look like when I exercise. So hit the discount stores if you need new workout items. Let’s get real: when you’re pouring sweat and huffing and puffing, your $100 exercise top is not going to be the first thing someone else notices. Exception to the rule: footwear is immensely important. Choosing the right shoe for your body and exercise intensity and frequency can save you potential pain and injuries. 

Health is not restricted to a members-only club. Even though health clubs can offer a variety of amenities, they are not necessary to reach or maintain your fitness goals. Your treadmill is a running trail, your stair-master is the football stadium stairs or the hill down the road. You can use household items for weights, or simply use your body weight for a killer workout. Your living room can be your yoga studio. Get creative. The weather is getting cooler, but once you get started on your workout, the blood flow will warm you right up. Always dress accordingly and listen to your body. The great thing about exercising outdoors: it’s free.

Go gadget-free. While the suggestion to ditch the gadgets may be blasphemous for some, the cost of these electronics add up very fast. The pedometer, the distance tracker, the latest headphones. While these may make your workouts seem less like ‘work,’ they are not pertinent to a good sweat session. Map your route online before your run. Enjoy the world around you without your headphones drowning it out. Challenge yourself to work just as hard without checking your tracker of choice every five minutes. In the wonderful world of advanced phones, there are many fitness apps you can download for free if you feel compelled to have a way of documenting progress.

There are numerous ways to maintain a healthy budget and a healthy lifestyle at the same time.  Be resourceful. Be innovative. Having the latest and greatest  of everything for sale in the health sector does not make you perform better – or your bank account look appealing for that matter. No matter how much you spend on health and fitness, accountability can only come from one place: You.

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