It’s that time of year again. The beginning of the calendar year, when there’s a surge of gym memberships and resolutions to work out more and eat (or drink) less. January sees the highest number of new memberships, and an increase in Google searches for health and fitness. Before the new year’s resolution slide takes place, consider what it will take to stick to those well-meaning fitness goals. And, realize that sometimes the best things in life are free. Here are some ideas on how to maintain your goals without the gym, and stay fit for free.
One of the best discoveries I had in quarantine? There is an incredible number of free fitness classes on YouTube. From cardio to yoga, to strength training and barre, there’s a free workout for everyone! The variety helps beat workout boredom. The varying lengths of the workouts make them easy to fit in as part of your day. There are more free options than I ever imagined. One of my favorites to check out is Orange Theory, which is easily tailored to any skill level.
In addition to the many options on YouTube, there are a ton of apps that offer variety and versatility. From running-focused apps to yoga practices, there’s something for almost anyone. All without spending a penny. Nike Training Club or MapMyFitness have been two that I’ve checked out, but there are apps for any interest. Even those that come with a price tag, there’s generally a free trial so you can try it out.
Getting outside is not only an easy way to stay fit and boost your mood, but it’s 100% free. Take the kids sledding or out to a park. Meet up with a friend or two, and go for a walk. It’s not only fun but accessible regardless of the season. Winter walks along the Fox River Trail are a personal favorite. For the more adventurous, snowshoeing, skiing, or even winter biking are all available in NE Wisconsin.
Lastly, there’s cleaning. I can practically hear the groan, but it has been proven that regular cleaning can have benefits beyond just the clean house. Light housework can burn more calories than you might expect: vacuuming, mopping, or sweeping burn the most calories. All that laundry and walking up and down stairs does count for something.
Gym membership or not, having an accountability partner can have a positive impact on your fitness goals. Beginning and maintaining your goals alone is possible, but having that extra push from someone working towards the same goals increases your chances of sticking with it. The biggest thing for me is making sure exercise is part of my routine. If it feels like a chore, I’m more likely to skip it. If I make time for it, three times a week over my lunch hour, I’m on autopilot and I just get it done.
Use technology to your advantage, and lean on your friends for motivation and support to help maintain those fitness goals all year long! Staying fit doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. It just takes finding a plan that works for you and your lifestyle. Cheers to staying fit for free, and exceeding your goals in this brand new year!