A Little Fitness... Inexpensive Exercise at Home

This year I have cut back expenses because I wanted to save money, so I let my gym membership lapse and decided to work out at home. It is easy for me to avoid exercise if it seems like it will take too much effort or last too long. It's been kind of a fun challenge figuring how to get a good, inexpensive workout at home. Here are some of the things that have helped me.

One of my favorite pieces of equipment for working out at home is a set of exercise bands. I happened to get my bands from a physical therapist, but if you don't have some you can get them relatively inexpensively online. Just about any exercise I can think of can be done with the bands. Use your door to hold the band for you. Loop the band around a doorknob and then close the door with the ends of the band on the opposite side. This way, if the band slips off the doorknob it won't come back and flip you in the face. If a doorknob isn't the right height for the exercise you are doing, try the top or the door, the leg of a bed, or a sofa. To see examples of band exercises, click here. It's quite a fun mental challenge to figure out how to work a certain muscle I want to target with bands! And other classic resistance exercises don't require any equipment, like leg lifts and pushups.

Another form of exercise that I find great to do at home is yoga. The carpet in my house is a bit slick, but other than the cost of a yoga mat (relatively cheap at stores like Ross and T.J. Maxx) yoga is free. One of my favorite sources of yoga routines is iTunes. I subscribe to a free video iTunes podcast called "Yoga and other useful stuff with Tara Stiles". In this podcast Tara Stiles provides a number of routines that have easy-to-understand names like "Weight Loss Yoga for Beginners" and "Beach Body Arms". Other free exercise routines can be found on iTunes, YouTube, and as Briton recently mentioned, Hulu.

Cardio has been the most challenging aspect of exercise for me to get at home. I don't particularly like running, and weather that is too hot, too cold, too rainy, or whatever will usually keep me inside. So how to do cardio inside? First of all, aerobic routines such as the ones mentioned above on iTunes, YouTube, and Hulu are a good place to start. If you decide to spend a little money there are plenty of great videos out there. At other times I have jumped rope in the garage (the ceiling in the garage is taller so I won't hit it with the rope). And it just occurred to me the other day that it would be really fun to just put on some of my favorite music and dance around. You could create a playlist on your mp3 player or computer with tunes that are guaranteed to get you bouncing and lasts the desired length of your workout. When the music stops, you'll have gotten an aerobic workout and be in a great mood.

Have fun with your home exercise!

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