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Monday, August 25, 2008

Frugal exercise. . .

I've noticed a subtle thickening around my waist and hips, over the past six months or so. My doctor says that some weight gain is normal as women age, a comment I'm trying to ignore. It's probably no coincidence that this began around the time I terminated my gym membership while simultaneously beginning to socialize more (meaning, I eat---and drink---"out" more than I used to). I certainly don't want to spend any more money on a new---larger---wardrobe, so what's a gal to do when she's trying to budget AND lose some weight?

In the summer, it's not been difficult to get myself down to the track for a run---free exercise! And yesterday, I spent a grueling few hours in the front yard making a dent in the weeds that have suddenly sprung from the earth. I probably did the equivalent of a hundred lunges and squats yesterday, just pulling, gathering, and depositing in the green waste can.

Now, though, I'm starting to worry about fall and winter, when it's literally dark when I get home from work, meaning I can't just run down the street to the (unlit) track, let alone run on the paths in Mt. Tabor park. Is it better for me to spend the $35 a month on a gym membership, to avoid having to spend more money on better fitting clothing?

At this point, I'm saving money on food, since I'm trying to eat smaller portions, with more fresh fruits and vegetables, rather than the tons of pasta, rice, and noodles I generally eat. I'm also cutting back on my alcohol consumption, which is saving me a pretty penny. But I'm still not debt-free (I still owe $1800 to my credit card), and I wanted to use the gym membership as a 'reward' of sorts, when I was able to finally close that card out.

Although I haven't yet decided on the winter gym membership question, here are some habits I can develop now, to help me save money on exercise:

  • Use free weights; I actually already have these, in 2 lb and 8 lb (ouch!) weights. All I need to do is get into the habit of using them regularly.
  • Utilize the internet. There are actually short 'podcasts', or online videos, that go through exercise routines that I can do at home.
  • Buy a jump-rope. Even if I can't run (and I LOVE running), using a jump-rope might give me the same cardio workout, possibly in less time. And it's CHEAP!
  • Check out an exercise DVD from the library. It might be fun to check out a different DVD every week, so I have some variety in my exercise routines.

So there it is. There may be some alternatives to restarting my gym membership; at the very least, I'm going to give it a shot and see how I feel.


Dina said...

I don't know if you like to swim, but in some places there are community centers with pools that you can use for free, and they have adult swim times in the evenings. Just another idea - swimming is really good exercise!

marci357 said...

Here on the Oregon coast I experience the same problem in the winter - dark when I get home from work :(

If you can be motivated enough at home to exercise, that is great. If not, 4 months of gym membership would be a good thing. Maybe by November you'll have that debt paid down enough to consider the gym again.

I think I'll try the library videos myself this winter - thanks!

If not, vacuuming, dusting upper areas, up and down a ladder, several trips up stairs to the attic and back, and scrubbing floors are all decent exercise - just put on some Santana music and really get into it - that's my secret :)

Finally Frugal said...

Dina: my local community center is actually building a pool, which should be ready by the fall. Great idea, and I never would have thought of swimming there for exercise (just to cool off. . .)!

Marci: funny you should mention housework; I did consider this, as well as the benefits (my house would be so much cleaner!) We'll see how I do with that one!!

SpillingBuckets said...

It's the same way here, upstate NY - dark when I leave and when I get home in the winter.

Last fall we bought a stationary bike from Wal-Mart (Gold's Gym brand) and it's been totally worth it. We don't have a lot of space in our 1 bedroom apartment, but it fits nicely in the bedroom. And it costs 3 mo. gym membership (just over $100) but we don't need a gym now and can work out any time we want, not just when the gym's open. It's more than paid for itself. So although it's a splurge it was totally worth it for us.

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