Three Ways to Stay Active on a Budget

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COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to ease nationwide, but these unsettled times still call for an abundance of caution. Avoid crowds. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Stay home when possible. The virus is still out there, still looking for opportunities, and wishful thinking isn’t going to make it any less dangerous.

Unfortunately, the economic impact is also real. Many people have lost their jobs, and many of those jobs won’t be coming back any time soon. And so as much as we’d all love to be out there safely spending our money to support the economy, a lot of us just don’t have the money to spend right now. We don’t have $2,200+ lying around to drop on a new Peloton bike, let alone $39/month for membership fees.

So How Do We Stay Fit for Cheap?

If gym memberships are out, and we can’t afford expensive home exercise equipment, what are we supposed to do? Luckily for us, there are plenty of low-cost options. Physical rehabilitation specialists are especially adept at coming up with low-cost exercise alternatives, with lots of innovative at-home physical therapy equipment available at reasonable prices.

For your own at-home efforts to stay active on a budget, here are some great ways to get started:

  1. Walking. This is the grandmother of all exercises—but it’s not just for grandmothers! If you’re just starting an exercise program, this is where you start. It might not be as glamorous as running or HIIT or riding a century on your bike, but if you’ve got the time to put in the miles, walking will get you in as good a shape as anyone needs to be. All that, and you’ll see the world at the speed it was meant to be seen. Equipment required: a comfortable pair of shoes, and maybe a hat and sunscreen.
  2. A Low-Budget Home Gym. If you’ve got zilch to spend, you could get by on bodyweight exercises alone. Think pushups, burpees, crunches, lunges, planks, squats, mountain climbers, and pull-ups if you can find a stable bar to hang from. Improvise some weights by filling canvas bags with cans of soup. Don’t have a stair climber? Maybe you’ve got some actual stairs. Equipment to make things better: a bench, a floor mat, an exercise ball, and exercise bands.
  3. The Internet. Yes, the computer can be an albatross around your neck when you’re stuck at home. You’ve wasted hours browsing Facebook and Instagram and Buzzfeed when there are so many better things you could be doing with your time, like, I don’t know, going into the kitchen to watch your sourdough bread rise. But the Internet is also a wonderful tool for exercise coaching and inspiration. YouTube is loaded with free videos offering guided workouts from strength training to core work to kickboxing to yoga. Browse just a bit and you’re sure to find something right for you. Just be sure not to fall back into the rabbit hole of Graham Norton celebrity interviews. Equipment needed: a computer or phone with Internet.