Dear Heather…Can you be frugal & still get a good workout?

Dear Heather,

Maybe I should have sent this to the frugal blog, but I had a question about being frugal and being fit at the same time. The simple fact is I don’t have a lot of extra money. I have three kids and I’m a single parent. My ex helps me out with child support, but I use that money to take care of the kids and keep extra in the bank if they need something. I try to limit my spending to necessities only with the occasional splurge here and there.

A couple of years ago, I tried to join a gym, but the monthly fees didn’t balance out to how much time I was actually able to spend at the gym. In fact, I only seemed to use the gym on the weekends when the kids were with their dad. I want to be in shape, I want to feel better about myself, but I need to be frugal. I can’t afford to spend a lot of money on stuff – so what I need to know is can you be frugal and still get a good workout?

Thanks in advance, Mom of Three

Dear Mom of Three,

Thanks for your note and yes, you absolutely can be frugal and still get fit. In fact, some of the best forms of exercise (at least in my humble opinion) such as walking are absolutely free. You just need a good pair of shoes. Chances are you have a sturdy pair of walking shoes (most Moms need them just to keep up with the kids!) and you can go for a walk at just about any time of the day.

Taking your kids to the park? Walk if you can. Or if you have to drive, while they are playing on the equipment, you can walk in circuits around the park and get your walking in then. You can add walking lunges to your routine that are a fantastic workout for your glutes and your quads as well as some hamstring stretches on lower walls and benches.

Pick up a couple of free weights – you can get a set of five or ten pound hand weights at Wal-Mart or Target for under $10 and let me tell you, free weights give you tons of options for your upper body and your lower body for that matter. You can do bicep curls, triceps presses, dumbbell squats and even hold a pair of lightweights in your hands while you do the walking lunges.

Good health and fitness doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, the only real investment you have to make is time. You need to know what you’re doing and you need to stretch out so that you don’t cause injury to yourself. If you have bikes, take the kids out for a bike ride or go roller-skating – but if you don’t have these items and didn’t plan to buy them – it’s still doable.

As for the cost of bikes, check out Craig’s List or local garage sales, I’ve been haunting both looking for a good bike for me for the same reasons. I hope this helps you out – and look at this way – come summer time, it’s pool time and a few laps in the pool is a good way to get some good exercise in, even while you’re playing with the kids.

I hope you have a great day and please let me know how it’s going!

For more fitness questions and answers, check out previous Dear Heathers.

Related Articles:

Measuring Your Strength – Lower Body

Women’s Fitness: Fast, Fit & Fulfilling

Setting Up a Home Gym?

Mom Fitness – When You Need to Be Home

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About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.