It's that time of year when everyone is running around panicking because soon they'll have to wear shorts or a bathing suit. Here are some tips to get yourself in shape without costing a fortune.
Gyms are horribly expensive but usually have summer deals. If you are determined to join a gym, go in several of them and see if they will give you a week's pass for free (most places will do this). You can accumulate free weeks of free gym time if you visit 3-4 gyms in your area. Afterwards, let the gym know you're low on funds and that you want the best deal. Compare. Sometimes if you tell one gym the other gym is going to give you a better deal, they'll make their price better. It can happen! So wheel and deal with gyms otherwise you'll end up spending a small fortune. Also check out the "Y" and University Gyms. Those usually have decent summer rates.
If you decide not to join a gym but still want to get fit:
Most yoga studios with either give you a free intro class, or offer a "first-time" fee for about $10. This is a good way to try out different yoga places in your area. Most communities also have classes set up for about $50 for once a week for about 8 weeks. These programs are usually sponsored by the local government, so look in your community guides. Many studios offer what is called a "Community" Class. I've noticed this is offered in several cities I have been to and usually run about $5 a class for 1 1/2 hours. I've even found FREE yoga in once city followed by a meditation and free veggie meal. These are usually offered by either religious organizations or community spiritual groups.
If you are on a limited budget, inquire about your options and let them know. You'd be surprised, some places might give you a few extra classes if you purchase a punch card or sign up for a class.
Buying A Yoga Mat: At first I looked for a free Mat on Freecycle but had no luck there. Kijiji.ca sold one for $5. In the end, I decided to purchase a mat/carrying case and DVD for $30. Seems a bit pricey at first but since I can not afford to attend yoga classes more than once a week, I use the DVD for other days which has wonderful 20 minute workouts.
Also try this website that offers a free yoga dvd download: http://yoga.org.nz/yoga_vidoes.htm
Or download an audio podcast: http://www.yogadownload.com/podcast.asp
So go out there and get healthy for free, or at least for cheaper!
By Lisa from Halifax, NS
Editor's Note: Share some of your favorite frugal fitness tips!
I got a Wii Fit for my birthday in May. It is a balance board that you use with the Nintendo Wii game system. It has great yoga and strength training exercises and can tell when you are doing them correctly because of your balance. I haven't even had it a month but it already had helped my posture and has encouraged me to exercise more. If you already have a Wii system in your home, this might be a great addition to it. My kids love it too, there are all sorts of fun, active games, like hula hoop and skiing. My husband and I now get up early to start the day with a yoga routine.
It costs under $100, which is a bit expensive but nothing compared to expensive exercise equipment and gym memberships. Be warned though, it doesn't shelter you from your weight and weight loss goals. My dream is to drop from obese down to merely overweight. It does encourage you daily, gives you fitness tips and reminds you if you skip too many days. Sort of like your own virtual personal trainer. You will still need to supplement it with a cardio workout a few times a week, if you are serious about your fitness goals.
I just love it. My friend tried it at my house and sent her husband out to buy the Wii system, just so she could get the Wii Fit. All her kids do 30 minutes of exercise a day, every day. As it is quite new, it can be hard to get your hands on one but I know there are several more games that will be released soon to take advantage of it. If you get a chance, give it a try.
I first went to yoga classes in 1971 when I was 15 years old. Then the yoga teachers would emphasise that yoga was non competitive. You should wear any loose stretchy clothes you already had, and use a blanket or beach towel for your yoga mat. Now everyone is out to sell you the equipment. I just practise at home on my own.
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