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5 Ways to Get Fit on a Budget

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You’ve heard it time and time again, exercise is great for you. You’ve made the commitment New Year’s after New Year’s to finally get fit and start going to the gym five days a week and this time you really mean it. Then you take a look at your overdrawn bank account and have to wonder…do I really have $80 a month to do this?

When you’re on a budget or over budget and you are ready to get fit, what do you do?

In March 2011 I was finally sick of being overweight. Being in my twenties wincing with knee pain every time I had to take the subway stairs on the way to the office was embarrassing and didn’t match the mental image I had of myself. I had worked out off and on over the years, but in all honesty, mostly off. I was ready to make a change, however my budget wasn’t changing with me. As a resourceful young professional living in one of the most expensive cities in U.S., I developed a list of five great ways to stay fit on a budget that I’m thrilled to be sharing.

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Karmic credit

Before I moved to New York I had never thought of volunteering at a yoga studio, but when I moved here in March 2009 on the heels of a recession, jobless, idealistic, and searching for short term gigs on Craigslist that weren’t totally weird, I found a fantastic yoga studio that would allow me to work the front desk for a couple of hours in exchange for unlimited free yoga classes. When I was finally ready to get healthy I contacted the studio and began working Saturday mornings from 9-11 a.m. in exchange for free and unlimited yoga classes. Bartering is a great way to make things happen on a budget. If you don’t live near a yoga studio that has this option, check out OurGoods and find a yoga instructor (or personal trainer) willing to barter with you for a skill you may have.

Stream it

While most us are busy using Netflix or other streaming services to binge watch episodes of “Orange is the New Black” and old episodes of “New Girl” (or maybe that’s just me), the fact is that these days you can find free streaming workout videos on Youtube and for a little money on Hulu Plus. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out Andia Winslow’s Youtube Series “The Fit Cycle.” Her laundromat workout is awesome!

Sworkit

True story, because of this app, last weekend while I was away on a weekend getaway, I voluntarily took the time to do a 20 minute full body workout. Unbelievable? Yes, even to me. Sworkit is one of countless apps that creates a customized workout for you in a time frame of your choosing. All you need is enough space to do a jumping jack. Don’t have 20 minutes? Try the 7 minute workout. Featured in the NYTimes, make this app a daily commitment and watch your abs finally take some shape.

City gyms and cheap gyms

If you have $10 a month you to can join a gym. I swear, this isn’t a deal that’s too good to be true, because it’s true. Whether you join Planet Fitness, Blink, or your local recreation center there’s a fitness option these days that’s within your reach so what are you waiting for? Downsize your Starbuck’s coffee, take the change and invest in getting a few steps closer to a healthy heart.

Get creative

Before I moved to New York City, I was living in the small hamlet (according to Wikipedia) of Latham, NY and working for a local non-profit. I was unsure of how to add exercise into my life and my budget. At that time, I hadn’t fallen in love with the gym, in fact I didn’t like exercise at all. One afternoon, I decided to take the time to think about what I did as a child that was active and fun, and it dawned upon me, roller-skating. Lucky for me, I was living new by my favorite childhood roller skating rink which had weeknight specials, fast forward three months I had lost 15 lbs and spent less that $50 per month to get there.

Maybe you don’t have a rollerskating rink across the street but I’m sure you have a computer, $10 and a lot of moxie, so take it and make it happen!

What are your favorite ways to get fit on a budget?

Ask Anita Mirchandani for more healthy tips for getting fit!

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