It is known that having a high socioeconomic status is associated with higher levels of physical fitness. Having extra time and resources to put into yourself can be expensive. As the cost of living pressures are increasing, it can be harder to maintain certain practices and services that are important to our health. Physical fitness is one of those things which can take a back seat when financial pressures increase. The purpose of this article is to give some motivation and inspiration to explore some low cost options for exercise that require $0.00. These things can be done by anyone at any level. Sounds good?
Often we perform exercise tests in the clinic and show people how high the heart rate can get just by walking up a gradient. It's quite amazing! Knowing this, you can simply incorporate walking on difficult terrain (think hills or sand) and you can get an incredibly effective cardiovascular workout that is low impact and in the sunshine.
Performing 15 minutes of daily stretching can be extremely effective for managing muscle stiffness, aches and pains and generally de-stressing. Roll out a towel or yoga mat and let your intuition guide you. Follow this with 5 minutes of mindful breathing and you will feel grounded and relaxed.
Squats and push ups
Some of the most simple exercises are the most effective. This 10x10x10 routine will strengthen every part of your body and be challenging for your strength and muscular endurance. Simply perform 10 push ups (at your level), 10 body weight squats (the deeper the better) for 10 rounds. Aim to minimize rest in between sets. This alone will take a minimum of 15 minutes to perform, if not 20 minutes. Done for a week you will feel like a new person.
Outdoor exercise equipment
We are lucky to live in an area which has great outdoor exercise equipment and walking paths supplied by the council. These things can be used to perform a workout as effective as any commercial gym or trainer can offer. During COVID, we moved all our classes to outdoor exercise equipment at a local park and everyone got a great workout, regardless of their level of ability.
Utilise technology for motivation
Technology can be blamed for making our health worse in some instances. However, there are many instances where they can be a great tool for motivation and accountability. STRAVA is an app that can be used to track your walks/runs/cycling. What can be very powerful is to log each of your activities and invite your friends and family to do the same. Through the app, you can see their exercise efforts and they can see yours. All of a sudden you have created an accountability structure and network of people doing the same as you. You can give “KUDOS” when someone logs an exercise session and they can do the same for you.
The main thing to remember is getting fit (and staying fit) is a journey that requires consistency and dedication. Letting your financial means be a barrier to good physical and mental health is not an excuse. Hopefully these ideas help you get and stay moving on a budget.