Get Fit For Free

Getting and staying fit can be intimidating, especially if you don’t want to go to gyms that might make you self-conscious and cost a lot of money. Even at-home equipment can be costly. But you can have an enjoyable fitness routine without spending anything. Experts from the Go4Life fitness program of the National Institutes of Health have some great suggestions:

Most malls have early-morning walking clubs. Stop by the customer service desk for information. You’ll get some exercise and socialize with friends while you walk the entire mall. You’ll likely meet some new people, too.

Get your garden or yard in shape, and you’ll shape up, too.

Give your house a top-to-bottom spring cleaning. You can burn hundreds of calories doing this.

If you’re interested in strength training, you can make your own weights from household items — plastic milk jugs filled with sand or water, bags of rice, soup cans, or bottles of water. Ask your doctor how heavy these homemade weights should be.

(Editor’s note: Third Age recently published a strength-training workout that’s convenient and costs nothing. Click here for the article, by certified strength and conditioning coach Neil Short.)

If your hair salon or coffee shop is just a few blocks away, walk instead of driving. Don’t overdo it, though; you’ll have to walk back home, too.

Try out free demonstration exercise classes at your local senior center or fitness center. It’s a good way to see whether you’d like some kinds of exercise you never tried before, such as tai chi or yoga. Many centers have classes geared toward beginners.

Think about going to a dance class at the community center. If you’ve got a partner, great; if not, there are many line-dance classes that are great for singles.

Join in community fun runs or walks.

Go for a hike in a park or nature preserve. Check with your state parks agency to see what facilities you’d like to explore. You’ll be surprised by the number of walks and sights that are near you.

Learn about trees and plants while exploring a local arboretum.

Help your community by participating in a clean-up effort. You can improve streets, the sides of roads, streams, outdoor sports fields and parks while getting in some good exercise.

Borrow a bicycle and ride around the neighborhood.

For more information on health issues for seniors, visit http://go4life.nia.nih.gov/.  You can also order a free exercise DVD from the National Institute on Aging. Click here.


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