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Jan 292014
 January 29, 2014  Posted by  Features, Health & Beauty, Hot Deals

Did you make one of those resolutions to be healthier or lose weight or exercise more this year? Or maybe you’re just looking for something to motivate you to start moving more and get healthier. Sure you could join a gym or hire a personal trainer. But, for “wanna-be” fit frugalistas here are seven inexpensive alternatives to help get you off to a healthy start in 2014.

This old school yard toy is a simple and efficient way to burn some calories. In just 10 minutes, a 150-pound person can burn roughly 90 calories jumping slowly and almost 140 jumping at a faster pace. Subtract about 20 calories from each if you’re closer to 125 pounds, and add about 30 to 40 calories if you’re closer to 200 pounds. And that’s in just 10 minutes. Do that 3 times a day, and that 150-pound person can lose about a pound a week. Jump ropes can cost as little as $2 and can go up to $20 or more. But keep in mind they all do the same thing, buying a more expensive one doesn’t mean you’ll get healthier quicker.

Great for yoga and more. Yoga mats provide a more comfortable surface on which to do sit ups, push ups, and much more. Plus, it helps keep your feet or hands from slipping when doing certain exercises. These start around $14 and go on up. Again, a more expensive one won’t help you get fitter faster, but you may decide to spend a little more for one with a storage bag or carry handle, depending on where you plan on using it.

  • Walking

It’s free, easy, requires no equipment (aside from sneakers) and you can do it anywhere. Walk around your neighborhood, a local school track, or inside your local mall (just no stopping for shopping). Walk quickly enough to be a bit out of breath but not so fast you can’t speak. As it gets easier, simply increase your pace and/or add some ankle or wrist weights.

Think walking isn’t worth it, check this out. A 150-pound person can lose 7 pounds a year walking just 30 minutes 5 days a week at a 2mph pace (in 30 minutes you’ll walk 1 mile), OR 11 pounds a year walking the same amount at a 3mph pace (walking 1 1/2 miles in 30 minutes) OR 13 pounds walking at a 4mph pace (you’ll cover 2 miles in that 30 minutes). All that weight loss is from changing nothing in you life except adding the walking. Just imagine what could happen if you made a couple of simple changes in your diet too.

  • Exercise Shows/DVDs

Take advantage of your cable company’s on-demand service or your Netflix streaming for more than just movies and TV shows.  These are available at no extra cost beyond what you’re already paying your cable or movie company. You can also buy exercise DVDs and many are quite affordable, as low as $5 a piece. There are countless types of exercise shows and DVDs to try from no matter what style you like. Choose from those based on dancing, boot camp, calisthenics, and so much more. One good series is called 10-minute solution. These videos are broken down into about 5 (10-minute) chunks. Each day you may choose any of the 10 minute work outs you like and do one, or more. You can choose from Target Toning, Hip Hop, Pilates, Boot Camp, Weight Loss, and more. They’re perfect when you don’t have a lot of time to exercise or don’t quite feel like you’re ready for a big work out but just want to start doing something.

Sometimes just being aware of how much (or how little) you’re moving can be a big motivator to get you to move more. A simple pedometer clipped to your belt or pants can track how many steps you take over the course of the day. Set a simple goal such as 5,000 steps per day and see how close you get to it over a day. If you meet your goal, set a higher goal the next day. If not, think of ways you can boost your step count. Those little things we hear all the time really can make a difference. Activities like parking further from the door, using the stairs more, or walking across the office to talk to your co worker instead of calling or emailing are simple ways you can get more movement into your day. You can find a basic pedometer for under $10 or spend more for all kinds of bells and whistles.

That’s right, going old school again. If you can manage to get that hoop spinning and staying up, you’ve got a great aerobic exercise. I tried over and over (and over) again, but finally got it. For me, it was all about having one foot a bit in front of the other, but you can check out countless you tube videos with various how-to tips and techniques. This is a fun one if you have kids. You can all hoop together, or as we do sometimes, just put on your favorite music and while they dance, I hoop. It’s a great idea if you struggle to find time for your family and time to exercise. There are plenty of expensive, weighted hoops on the market, but you can easily start with just a plain one, which should run you about $15 or less.

  • Eat healthier

Finally, I couldn’t talk about getting healthier without mentioning food. Eating healthier can give you energy and help you lose a few pounds. Often the sheer act of losing a few pounds is enough to motivate you to want to make some healthy changes in your life. Its one of those positive cycles: lose weight, exercise more, lose more weight, eat healthier, and so on. Here are 10 great, inexpensive books that can guide you making healthier food choices.

Heidi McIndoo

is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, author, and bargain hunter. She loves saving money and finding great deals, and can’t help but share the wealth when she does. She also loves all things food: baking, cooking, buying, eating, and more. She’s written about nutrition and healthy eating for Parents, Woman’s Day, All You, Prevention, and more. She enjoys teaching people how to eat both nutritiously and deliciously. And, in her two latest books she does just that — When to Eat What and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to 200-300-400 Calorie Meals. She lives with her family in the Metro Boston area.

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