Low-cost ways to shape up

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At the start of the New Year, do you want to start exercising but are afraid of the cost as you look at your budget?  Here are some no-cost or low-cost options to get you moving without hurting the budget.

View what you do every day as physical activity.  Honestly, you do not NEED to go to the gym to get a good aerobic workout.  If you take a look at some of the activities that you do every day you may be surprised at the opportunities available to you:

Take the steps.  Do you have steps at your home or office, take 2-3 minutes and go up and down them.  You will be surprised how much your heart rate increases in just a few minutes of going up and down the stairs.

Take a walk every day.  Just 30 minutes of walking will bring great health benefits.  You can break that down into 10 minute breaks if that works better into   your schedule. Take a quick walk in the morning, at lunch and in the evening and you are done. You can also pick up a few extra steps just by parking at the end of the parking lot instead of circling to find the closet spot possible.

Housework.  Did you ever think of housework as a workout?  Think of everything you do to maintain your home.  Taking care of the yard during all of the seasons In the winter you may have to shovel snow, in the spring prepare and plant the garden, in the summer maintain the garden and weed and in the fall rake the leaves.  Inside the home, you have to fold laundry, vacuum and dust.  All of these things take lots of movement and effort.

If you have children or grandchildren, play with them.  There is little that will wear you out like taking a child outside and playing with them.  Throwing the ball, running, playing with a hula hoop or shooting baskets.  All of these are great ways to get in your physical activity!  If you are stuck inside, try playing an active game with them such as tennis or golf so that you are still moving with the game.

Create your own equipment.  If you do not want to spend money on weights you can create your own.

Use canned goods.  Canned goods can make great hand weights for doing simple arm curls.

Milk jugs.  If you have milk jugs (either half or full gallon size) you have a great tool for creating a weight that you can use.  With jugs, you can fill them up with water to create a weight.  If you are not sure how much water to put in the jugs, start with just ¼ of the jug.  Add water as needed to increase the weight that you are using.  When you are done, use the water for indoor plants

You can also check out workout videos from your local library.  This is a great option if you are looking to try a new type of exercise to make sure you like it before investing any money into it.

If you have a little money to spend, think about these options:

Hand weights (also called dumbbells).  These are usually available in many sizes and you can find them in many different stores.  As with all weights, start with a lower weight and work up to heavier ones.

Exercise DVDs.  If you know that you like to dance, try purchasing a few dance DVDs that you can use at home. They might even be fun for the whole family.

Apps. If you have a smartphone that has apps, see if there is one that suits your needs.  There are several available that will help you track your physical activity and can help motivate you as well.

Jump-ropes. Jumping rope is not just for kids.  In fact, it is a quick way to get a  great workout.  You may be surprised at much of a workout it really is.

You may be surprised at all of the options available for you to start exercising at no cost or low cost. Try something new and most importantly, have a good time doing it.

Source:  Nicole Peritore, Extension Physical Activity Program Coordinator, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture

Jane Proctor is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer services.