Getting fit not a pricey pursuit

QUEEN OF FREE: CHERIE LOWE

By Cherie Lowe

Ah, exercise — the thing we know we should do more often but seems to cost so much money. At the same time, taking better care of your health leads to plenty of savings, including medical bills and prescriptions that result from a lack of exercise. Whether you hit the gym or hit the pavement, there are plenty of ways to save money on working out. These smart strategies will keep your body and budget fit.

Spend on shoes

People always sit up straight and pay attention when I tell them to actually spend money. But you have my permission here and now to invest in a decent pair of shoes when walking, running or working out. The shoes you wear when exercising should be durable and comfortable.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. You do not have permission to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a new pair of kicks. You should still get the best deal possible, searching for coupons and sales. You may even want to run a price comparison online to maximize your savings.

Once you find a shoe that works, buy the same pair again when you’ve worn yours out.

Gym or no gym?

Probably most people think of going to a gym when trying to get back into a groove when it comes to exercising. How can you know if it’s the right choice for you? You need to have a strong handle on your budget before you even hit the door of the nearest gym. If your have extra money to set aside to even afford a membership, then you can begin the process of selecting a facility to meet your fitness needs.

Take into consideration the time it will take you to travel to and from the location. Also investigate any additional fees the gym might charge including exercise classes and childcare services. Does the gym charge an annual or monthly fee? Don’t ever walk into a sales office at a fitness center without a plan or a limit on how much you’re willing to spend.

Alternative solutions

If your budget is limited, considered skipping the higher priced national chain gyms and investigating your local YMCA, community center or church fitness center. Many offer lower prices or even sliding scales based on your income. While the number of machines might be smaller at these locations, you might be surprised at the level of excellence in these alternatives to the flashier gyms.

Social media inspiration

During the last two years, I’ve fallen in love with finding all sorts of workouts on social media. I follow athletes and trainers who inspire me with new ideas. Some even provide full length workouts you can do right at home. At the top of my list is the YouTube husband and wife duo who run FitnessBlender.com. Their channel and website has hundreds of workouts for all fitness levels, equipment available and even time amounts. On Instagram, I follow Kaisafit who trains like a beast and smiles the entire time. In January, I participated in the 30-day squat challenge with Fitcircuits on Instagram. What I love about these specific social media channels is that many of them don’t require any equipment beyond a WiFi connection.

It’s easy to make excuses that we don’t have enough money to get fit, we all probably know the brutal truth that working out begins with simple changes made over time. Jumping jacks don’t cost a dime. A walk around the block is absolutely free. A set of pushups, while painful, don’t require debt.

You can take care of your body without obliterating your budget. You can workout without overworking your wallet. Take the first steps toward better financial and physical fitness.

Greenwood resident Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 in debt in four years and now live debt-free every day with their two kids. She is the author of “Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.” Send questions, column ideas and comments to newstips@dailyjournal.net