Browsing Instagram and passing by the CrossFit gym window, you might be mistaken that getting in shape and spending money is closely correlated. Jacked social media influencers who are selling $99 workout programmes, expensive diet plans and $100 per month CrossFit classes can be off-putting. But make no mistake, keeping in shape is a huge money saver — you just need to know the right way to go about it.
It comes as no surprise that not working out isn’t very good for your health. In fact, it’s actively damaging you in many ways. There have been numerous studies showing that a lack of exercise leads to a variety of health conditions that will in turn cost a lot of money to address. Given the extortionate prices of American healthcare, lifetime spending on healthcare negatively correlates with consistent exercise.
It’s not the problems that arise from obesity either, but mental health issues can be alleviated with exercise too. It’s proven that exercise can help anxiety, self-esteem, social withdrawal and depression. These are the very things that Americans spend thousands on each year trying to amend with a therapist. This isn’t to say go at your problems alone and neglect seeking help, but it could preemptively prevent the development of mental health issues in the first place.
Shaping spending patterns
Keeping in shape and exercising regularly has a profound knock-on effect. It’s merely a first step to cutting down on beer and eating healthier meals. Don’t believe me? Anyone who works out knows that an injury that puts them out of exercise for a few weeks has sent them back into drinking more alcohol, ordering more takeaways and so on. We can’t all be consistently strong-minded, so having a daily goal of working out is what keeps us on the right track.
The aim is consistency more than it is to lift as much weight as possible. It’s amazing how much having a health-centric routine every day can lead to. All it takes is a dedication of 30 to 60 minutes per day exercising. The other stuff, like cooking healthier, cycling to work and so on, comes much easier once the first step has been taken.
These changes in behaviour will save a lot of money on unhealthy luxury items that you don’t need. After all, eating and drinking healthy happens to be the cheapest thing to do – water, fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes and so on are some of the cheapest things on the market and the healthiest.
The frugal way to keep in shape
Okay, so you want to get fitted but you don’t want to spend much money. The gym can be a very cheap way to work out, as you don’t have to buy the equipment — you’re simply ‘renting’ it. But this depends on your options as not all towns have a $17 per month gym. And even if they do, we can go even cheaper than that!
If you have next to no space for equipment and working out in your home, then you can choose the ultimate frugal option: running outdoors and using a park for bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight exercises are fantastic, and the closed chain movements mean that they’re better for your joint health and functional strength than weights are anyway.
Dip bars and a pull-up bar is all you need to find, which most local parks will have. You can easily stay healthy on a zero budget.
If you have space at home
If you do have the space for exercising at home and would prefer that convenience, then let’s explore what’s good value here. Items that are only used for only one thing are generally not a good idea. For example, an ab roller only really serves one exercise. A pull-up bar on the other hand is the same price and can work not only pull-ups but also some core exercises.
Additionally, if you have a dumbbell lying around, this can be easily used as an ab roller. There, you just saved $30.
TRX cables are great, as they offer a bunch of different exercises. Don’t actually buy TRX ones though, as they’re overpriced and you can easily make your own. All you need is two carabiner clips, two plastic handles (perhaps from a used skipping rope) and some sailing cord. Just ensure the cord is strong enough, and you may need to learn how to perform a few scouts knots in order to make it safe and adjustable.
Lastly, if you really want some weights, then kettlebells are your best option. One kettlebell can work your entire body, there’s almost nothing they can’t do. Swings, Turkish Get-Ups, Snatches and Ballistics are some of the safest, most effective exercises you can do, and all with just one piece of equipment.