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How to Exercise, Train on a Budget


Saving money is a major factor in many households nowadays and a membership to a fitness club (whether it’s to a gym, a running or cycling club or a social sports club) is one of the first things that usually falls off the list of necessities.

Yes, gyms offer a larger variety of classes, different types of exercise machines and gadgets, luxuries like steam rooms and saunas plus health professionals at hand like biokineticists and physiotherapists.

But that doesn’t mean if you cannot afford a gym membership you can’t have a good training session, because that is the main focus of what one achieves in a gym.

With that being said, there are so many alternatives for training on a budget.

Home gym equipment

I am a big advocate of home training because home is where we typically start and end our days. Setting up a home gym doesn’t have to happen all at once. If your budget is tight, you can purchase one item at a time and build the gym over time.

The home gym doesn’t have to be an extra room in your house, it can be a corner in your living room, your verandah or even your garden.

The basic movable equipment you can have as part of your home gym include resistance bands, a variety of dumbbells, medicine ball, skipping rope, swiss ball (exercise ball), free standing adjustable step and a yoga mat.

A full body workout can be achieved with these items. In addition, when the budget allows, one can add a treadmill or a stationary bike.

Cardio exercise

Getting a cardio workout on a tight budget is possible without spending too much money as well. One of my favourite home cardio workouts is jumping rope. Skipping for as little as five minutes can burn many calories and increase your heart rate substantially and have you breaking a sweat.

It’s one of the lightest and smallest pieces of exercise equipment that can fit into a handbag and essentially be used to train anywhere, anytime. A skipping rope can be purchased for as little as R150 at sports shops.

Another great tool that can be used for cardio on a budget is exercise videos that you can use at home. There is so much variety when it comes to exercise videos like aerobics, boxing, taebo, pilates, yoga, functional training and even dancing videos.

Another great option for cardio is running or walking in the neighbourhood. All you need to spend on is a good pair of running or walking footwear. Budgets vary due to the large variety of brands on the market, from as little as R499.

Cycling is also another good way to obtain a cardio workout. Bicycles are quite costly nowadays but if your budget can afford it, that’s great.

There are two different options, stationary bikes that one can set up in your home or a road or mountain bike that can be used outdoors. There are a large variety of bikes on the market as well as various brands. Costs range from as little as R5 000.

And finally, cardio exercise only cost you your time and energy is any exercise that requires only your body. Three of my favourite body weight cardio exercises include stair climbing, jumping jacks and knee highs.

Strength training/functional training

Strength training can also be done on a budget. Infact, just like the cardio exercises like jumping jacks and stair climbing, strength training is free and only requires your time and energy.

Upper body exercises can include push-ups, triceps dips on chairs, multidirectional punches holding water bottles filled with water for extra weight. Lower body exercises include a variety of squats, a variety of lunges. Exercises that target the full body include burpees, sit throughs and mountain climbers.

So, having shared all these options, there really is no reason to make excuses not to exercise.

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