If the only thing keeping you from starting an exercise program is the cost of a gym membership, here's some good news for you. There are plenty of low-cost and free opportunities to shape up and get fit. First, take advantage of everyday opportunities. Take a walk everyday, whether it be before work, during your lunch hour, or after dinner. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Doing household chores? Make it a workout. Mowing the lawn, shoveling, even vacuuming can increase your heart rate and make you sweat. If you have children, don't just watch them play. Join them in a game of tag or a bike ride. Second, consider small investments. Dumbbells are small and can strengthen many areas of your body. Resistance bands are a great way to increase flexibility and build strength. Jump ropes are a quick cardiovascular workout, and finally exercise videos create the feel of a health club in your own home. Hundreds of options are available to fit your routine, from strength training to cardio workouts. Third, learn to improvise. Items you use everyday can be workout equipment imitations. Canned good or milk or water jugs can be great substitutes for dumbbells. Heavier food, such as potatoes can work for various resistance exercises as well. Finally, learn to be a savvy shopper. Most areas used equipment stores available or check out the newspaper classifieds. Also, you can share the costs of equipment with friends. Trade videos so you don't get bored, and some personal trainers let you split the cost with a friend. Know what to avoid as well. Many products aren't worth buying, no matter how lost the price. Avoid products that promise overnight results or weight loss without exercise. Also avoid products that focus on only one body part, such as abs or thighs. There is no such thing as spot reducing. Information from mayoclinic.com
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