Getting in shape has always been one of the most popular goals, for obvious reasons. It feels good, you look better, and you save on health costs (maybe food costs too) down the road. And as a nation, we could sure use the exercise. Nearly 60 million Americans are obese, according to Fitness.gov.
Probably because they don't know where to start, a lot of people turn to the three-letter word that's supposed to magically cause weight loss: gym. But while a membership is guaranteed to slim down your wallet, it won't automatically slim you down. You have to work hard to get your money's worth.
In the video below, Money Talks News reporter Jim Robinson discusses what gyms can offer, and how to differentiate the good from the bad. Check it out, and then read on for more.
So what can a gym offer? Safety, guidance, and perhaps some motivation. But price comparisons aside, not all gyms are created equal. Let's recap what to look for…
Of course, the best way to save money is to skip the gym altogether. You don't need fancy equipment to get in shape. I've never had a gym membership, and I lost about 30 pounds last year just by cutting back on soda and going for four-mile walks every other day. If you do want to use equipment, try to get it cheap from yard sales, classified sites like Craigslist, or second-hand shops like Play It Again Sports.
According to Health.gov, adults should get at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week. Older adults and people with health conditions should consult a doctor before establishing an exercise routine. For people who find workouts monotonous, it may be easiest to start with an activity you're comfortable with and enjoy doing, like walking, jogging, swimming, skating, or playing a sport.
But if you're looking for more traditional exercises, here are some you can try at home…
For more exercise ideas, check out SparkPeople demos. For exercises you can do at work, check out About.com's office chair exercises. Set up your own workout and you'll be on the way to physical and financial fitness.
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