The benefits of exercise are numerous for the mind, body and spirit. One of the biggest barriers to getting more physical activity is figuring out what to do. Expensive gym memberships or pricey fitness classes are big turnoffs for some folks but the truth is, they aren’t necessary. There are plenty of ways to get moving that won’t cost you a cent, just ask the First Lady. In a recent interview, Mrs. Obama revealed one of the ways she encourages kids — her own and those she meets — to move.
Mrs. Obama: We talk about fun. I mean, something as simple as turning on the radio and dancing with your kids to Beyonce. Kids are watching these videos — let me tell you, if you make it a task in your household to learn the Single Ladies dance with Beyonce — they’re trying to do that anyway. They want to learn every move.
Fitness experts also agree that you don’t have to break the bank to get a good workout. Jimmy Peña, exercise physiologist, New York Times Bestselling Author and Founder of Prayfit.com shares his wisdom:
“You don’t need a gym membership to gain strength, add muscle or lose body fat. In fact, learning to use your body weight effectively can provide you with all the stimulus you need from the comfort of your own home, or when you’re on the road. Channel all your energy into these body weight-focused routines and save your money.”
Peña recommends good old-fashioned push up and sit-ups, adding challenges with inclines and declines on furniture. For cardio, give it 10-minutes of a combo of moves like jogging in place, jumping jacks and virtual jump rope.
Want a departure from your home sweet home? There are exercise opportunities all over your neighborhood.
- Get the family in garden – yard work burns calories and needs to be done regularly. Kids love to use the watering can!
- Got stairs at the local park? Use them to do simple heel raises – good for your legs and posture.
- Rent a kayak at the local lake and get rowing.
- Spring cleaning! Shlepping mops, brooms or bags of items to donate can get everyone in the house moving.
- Walk on the beach – the sand provides resistance to increase the challenge.
- Set up an obstacle course in your backyard — get the kids involved not only in completing the challenges, but in setting up the course.
- Seek out a local mountain – many having hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty.
- Take the kiddos to the park and get a game of kickball going.
- Got some old pillow cases? Time for a potato sack race!
Tell Us: How do you move without spending money?
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »