I’ve spent the past four days this weekend on vacation, indulging in gluttony, enjoying some delicious, new-to-me food (first official taco – checkmark!) – and so I figured, what can I post about, other than how I counter the act of stuffing myself. So, here goes!
The raggedly rich way to exercise on a budget is to be honest with yourself about what you’d like to do, what you’re going to do, and how you can afford to do it. I find exercise to be key in staying healthy and happy, and you can definitely do it on a budget. My go to’s are: ice hockey, yoga / stretching, and hiking.
I love playing ice hockey, and I love being thrifty so much that I was getting up for 6am ice times because they were the cheapest options.
I grew up playing hockey, and from my understanding, developed my back muscles in a way that causes them to act up when I’m not using them the way they’d been conditioned. I was plagued with serious back issues a couple years after I stopped playing hockey – and I’ve never once had a problem (other than sore muscles) since picking it back up, three years ago. Playing hockey is a luxury I can afford, and something that help enhance my standard of living by both providing a source of exercise, and by preventing the debilitating lower back injuries I used to get from doing wild things like turning around in my bed.
I’ve joined a summer league for $310. It runs for four months, from May to August – $78 for each month for 6-8 games, and a jersey and socks are provided. Other than laundry, driving to games and back, and skate sharpening once a month (for which I have a 10-stamp card for, saving me $1.57 per sharpening), there shouldn’t be any other costs associated with it. And for what I get back in exercise (both physical and mental), back pain prevention, and enjoyment, it’s a cost I’m more than willing to incur.
I try to stretch and strengthen every night – or at the very least, roll out my back.
The cascade of cracking one gets rolling out after a particularly tense day is near-heavenly. When I have the time (usually while I’m abroad and have nothing but time), I’ll incorporate yoga into my everyday routine. Online yoga is my favourite option because I don’t like going to yoga studios, I prefer to being alone, and it’s free. My go-to yogi for these practises is Yoga with Adriene. There’s videos for every level of skill on her YouTube channel, and she makes a point of offering variations to her practises depending on your own level of ability, and current body-aching status – there’s long and short videos and beginner basics, as well as 30-day challenges (and you can even download some of the video series from her website as a pay-what-you-can sort of deal, if you want to have them sans internet connection – it’s not an affiliate link! I just love her videos). Cannot recommend her enough. If Adriene’s not your jam (gasp!), there’s a multitude of other channels out there too.
( or you can see if your local studio is open to the type of man-the-desk-for-a-class deal that Mrs. Frugalwoods had going on )
My yoga mat is currently a little battered, due to an unfortunate decision to put it in a washing machine – but it still works perfectly fine. No need to fix what ain’t broke.
I love hiking too – it’s a full-body activity that doesn’t have to be intimidating.
I hate walking as transportation. I absolutely loathe having to walk from one place, just to get to another. I’d much rather bike, drive, skateboard, roller blade, and run (even though I hate running too). The caveat is that I don’t mind walking while I’m doing something else – namely, walking a dog, having a conversation, or keeping my eyes on rough terrain.
If you’re starting out and don’t know whether hiking is or isn’t for you – don’t worry. And definitely don’t go out and buy hiking boots, bear spray, poles, and a portable backpack camping stove. There’s no point in investing in these items if you’re not going to use them, and there’s an easy way to learn whether you’ll like it or not. No matter where you live, there’s bound to be some hike-able terrain near you. Type in your province or town, add ‘hiking trails’, and you’ll find somewhere to go. Pick something that’s marked for a beginner, and take a spin. Most beginner and intermediate trails you should be able to do with normal sneakers (I’ve seen flip flops on hikes before), and a backpack for: food, water, a small first aid kit, and a second/third layer. You’ll definitely need proper equipment if you’re going to be scaling mountains, but it shouldn’t be necessary for any beginner trail.
I have good hiking boots I got as a gift for my birthday, some cheap poles that do brilliant work in keeping me upright, and a backpack from MEC that transitions seamlessly into my day-to-day work / life (it was the only luggage I took for my weekend, and I seriously love travelling with just a carry-on). And if you’re going to be investing in these things, do your research and get quality materials from reputable places! You’re going to be keeping them for a long time, so it’ll be worth the extra $30 to get what works for you.
Yoga’s free, and my ice hockey and hiking are manageable after the initial investments made in the equipment. All three make me happy, and all three keep me moving on a regular basis, and none of them break the bank.