Jenilee Matz has a master’s degree in public health and worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a health communications specialist. She writes for several health publications including Everyday Health, HealthDay, and Diabetic Connect.
Can’t afford a pricey gym membership? No sweat! Don’t let your bank account stop you from making exercise—an important part of your diabetes management—a top priority. There are several ways to get fit without breaking the bank.
Seven inexpensive (or free) fitness ideas
1. Invest in basic equipment. Buy a pair or two of handheld weights, a jump rope, and an exercise ball. All of these items may cost you less than a gym membership’s fee for one month—and you only have to pay for the equipment once.
2. Work out with fitness videos. Countless workout DVDs are usually available at local libraries, or you may be able to watch boot camp videos through your Netflix membership. Or purchase a few fitness DVDs and swap them with friends.
3. Channel your inner child. What sports did you enjoy as a kid? Basketball, tennis, soccer, biking? Many of these sports require minimal equipment. Play a pick-up game with friends or join an intramural league for a nominal price. Another benefit to joining a team? You'll be obligated to show up to practices and games.
4. Hit the trails. Take a drive to a local or national park and spend the day hiking the trails and enjoying the scenery. Or go for a walk around your neighborhood. Walking is one of the easiest ways to be active—you can do it anywhere!
5. Take up running. Running may be the cheapest sport out there. All you need is a quality pair of athletic shoes and you’re set. Slowly ease your way into a running program, though. Start by briskly walking and then add in spurts of jogging. Gradually decrease the amount of time you spend walking and increase the length of your running intervals.
6. Join a group. Chances are there’s a running or cycling club or an intramural softball or kickball team in your area. One may even be available through your workplace. These leagues give you the chance to get fit while being social. For a small membership fee, the group will organize your practice sessions, games, and/or routes.
7. Surf the web. There are a host of free fitness resources available online. From Crossfit blogs to strength training Youtube videos and Pilates websites, there is bound to be something that piques your fitness interest on the Internet.