Fitness is a very important part of my healthy lifestyle. I schedule workout time into at least 5 days each week. (For adults, the CDC recommends 150 minutes of aerobic activity/cardio each week plus strength training 2 days/week, which I work into these 5+ workouts.) I see physical exercise as an essential part of my well-being, working both to keep my body healthy, and to keep my mind healthy. I have found exercise to be the most effective way to combat stress, which is the main reason I make sure to exercise regularly.
My two go-to fitness activities are walking and yoga. Both can be done with no equipment, and both can be free!
I’m not into organized sports or working out at the gym (extreme lack of coordination…I’ll stick to things I can do well or in the privacy of my own home). So I have found other ways to exercise. It’s all about finding what works for you!
The strength training (and major stress relieving) part of my exercise plan is yoga. My friend got me interested in yoga by dragging me to a yoga studio a few times two years ago. I like the physical and mental challenge, and also that yoga provides me with strength building exercise that does not require any special equipment.
After trying yoga in a studio, I went home to see if I could find any worthwhile videos online. The second video I found was one from Yoga with Adriene. I liked the video. Adriene both demonstrates the yoga routine and verbally explains what she’s doing. She explains very well, and seems to always remind me to breathe at the times when I have forgotten (yup, it happens…a lot). Adriene also has a great sense of humor to keep things light.
I have a list of liked YouTube yoga videos so I can find them easily. My go-to videos are in the Yoga for Weight Loss series or Power Yoga, because I like the physical workout I get from these. I also like to try new videos to try out new things, and usually work through a series, such as Yoga Camp or Revolution: 31 Days of Yoga.
My current favorite videos are all ones that I consider more strength building: Yoga for Weight Loss: 40 Minute Fat Burning Yoga Workout, Yoga for Weight Loss – Strengthen and Lengthen, Yoga for Weight Loss – Hips & Hammies, and Core Strength Ritual.
I also love that Adriene has playlists with videos grouped by video length. If I only have 20 or 25 minutes, I can pick a video that I have time to complete. If you have any interest in yoga, I highly recommend you check out Adriene’s videos. I do not think you will be disappointed.
The cardio portion of my exercise regimen includes power walking 40-60 minutes, 3-4 days per week. (If I average 50 minutes/workout, and only get to 3 walking 3 days/week, I have already met the CDC recommendation of 150 minutes.) I am lucky enough to live in an area with several nice places to walk outside when weather allows. Since I am kind of a wuss when it comes to cold weather, I also invested in a treadmill. This gives me no excuse to skip a workout – I don’t have to leave the comfort of my own home. Plus, I have a small TV set up in front of my treadmill. This is pretty much the only way I am able to keep up with the half dozen or shows I try to follow – I watch one hour-long episode per workout.
In the past I tried other exercise machines including the elliptical, and while that might have been more of a full body workout, I ended up with injuries (knee and hip pain). My physical therapist (treating me for Achilles tendinitis) recommended that I stick to just the treadmill if I wanted to use any cardio equipment. This was the one machine that would let my body control the motion, rather than the machine controlling my body’s motion – which is what caused my injuries. Since I stopped using other cardio machines like ellipticals and stair steppers, I have not suffered knee or hip pain. Please note that I am NOT recommending that you stop using exercise equipment that is working for you. If you love the elliptical, stair stepper, erg, etc. and it is working for you, keep it up!
I have found that walking and yoga are really easy workouts to keep up with when travelling. I do yoga in my hotel room using a towel or two in place of a yoga mat. Most hotels have a fitness center with a treadmill, or I’ll go out for a brisk walk to explore the area.
If you’re looking to exercise on a budget, I recommend first considering what kinds of exercise you like. If you like gym workouts, check if your employer has a gym that you can use for free. Or look into your health insurance plan – some offer discounts or reimbursements on gym memberships. If you like classes and are open to trying online classes, search your class of interest and see if there are free videos online. If you like walking or hiking, search for walking or hiking paths in your area. Or if you prefer hiking with a group, ask your friends or look for a local Meetup. Meetup is also a great place to look for organized sports and other activities.
What’s your favorite way to exercise?