Posted on Wednesday 24 September 2014
The health benefits of regular exercise are numerous. Exercise is needed to keep you healthy, extend your lifespan and help you achieve a balanced life. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money on staying fit.
The average gym membership in Canada costs between $40 and $50 each month, and this doesn’t include additional charges such as joining fees. If you want classes or a personal trainer, these costs can add up to hundreds of your hard-earned dollars each month. Most people also vastly overestimate how often they’ll actually use the gym when they’re considering membership, making it less cost-effective than they expected. In fact, this is how gyms make most of their money.
People make new year resolutions, sign up for a year-long membership, run on the treadmill every day for a week, and then, they never go back again. You shouldn't be one of those people, especially if you are looking to raise your credit score. If you want to take advantage of what your local gym offers, spend a while paying for day passes or sign up for a pay-as-you-go contract. A membership should come once you have decided on how often you will use it.
If you decide that a gym membership is for you, shop around, and don’t be taken in by shiny equipment that you’ll never actually use. If you don’t want to swim, don’t pay extra for a gym with a pool.
Luckily, you don't have to spend so much on exercising. You can get really creative about your workout plan. If you are a parent, this will also help you teach your teenager financial planning. Here are ways you can get plenty of exercise without paying for a gym membership.
If there’s one thing Canada has plenty of, it’s green space. However, you don’t need a lone walk in the wilderness for exercise. Public parks are great for walking, running, and cycling, but that isn’t all they’re useful for. Public parks are increasingly installing more elaborate exercise equipment, but you can even work out with ordinary playground equipment.
You don’t have to be as impressive as the Barstarzz team, but it’s amazing what you can use for exercise when you approach it right. If sports are your thing, many public parks also offer basketball and tennis courts. All you need to take with you is your ball and racquet. In the summer, see if you can find a local swimming hole.
Exercise can be even simpler. Try walking or cycling to work instead of driving or taking the bus. You can also walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. If you have a long commute, try parking further away from work or going to a bus stop further along the route.
Another thing Canada is popular for is its sub-zero temperatures. Going for a run in May is very different from going for a run in January. Running and cycling can also be surprisingly expensive.
There’s the initial cost of your bike or running shoes, and experts recommend that you change your running shoes every 300-500 miles. As you get more serious you can also end up spending heavily on everything from streamlined racing helmets to moisture-wicking underwear.
However, you can exercise with minimum equipment without leaving your home. There is far more to at-home exercise than push-ups and star jumps. YouTube offers plenty of bodyweight fitness resources for free online, and they guide you from light exercises to full workout videos.
While installing a pull-up bar may be necessary, door-mounted models are inexpensive. If push-ups sound too vigorous, it’s easy to find free yoga videos online. You won’t need any equipment apart from a yoga mat and a few props. Building your own home gym is a more expensive project, but if you look for bargains, you can still save money.
When buying exercise equipment for your home, it can be tempting to take out same-day loans. However, this is counter-productive. The best thing is to shop on auction or classified ad websites around February. This is when people exercising for their New Year’s resolutions tend to give up, so there is always plenty of equipment at rock-bottom prices. While this is fairly rare, keep an eye out as well for local gyms going out of business and looking to offload equipment.
Exercise is crucial to living a healthy lifestyle. However, gym membership can be costly. You can take alternative routes, such as taking advantage of public park facilities and using indoor makeshift resources to produce the same results. The most important factor here is your intentionality. You can save a great deal of money by using these alternative options.