We all know why it’s important to exercise. So why don’t we do it?
Often, it’s inconvenient, expensive, and boring.
Really, really BORING.
What’s a budget conscious person to do if they want to be fit, but don’t want to be bored to tears?
Change it up, give yourself a nice spicy menu of things to do, and make it easy for yourself. Just like it’s easier to stay on a diet with colorful, flavorful foods, it’s easier to exercise when you aren’t crying tears of boredom.
Everything in this post is easy to do in odd places, can be varied to suit different needs, and is either free or costs less than $50.
(By the way, if there are links to products, they lead to the best priced items I could find that still had decent quality. I expect things to be low cost but good, and I wouldn’t ask anyone to look at anything that wasn’t. I am an Amazon affiliate, as mentioned on the support us link.)
At Your Desk
Exercise ball – some offices let you use them as chairs. Strengthens your core, improves balance. You could get a doctor’s note if they don’t allow it, or just use it anyway then pretend it’s not there. Here’s an option that’s less than $30.
Pedlar – like a tiny exercise bike that fits under your desk. I’ll be buying one of these soon, and it’s less than $30 also.
Stress Ball – squeeze one of these enough and you’ll improve forearm and hand strength. Get a harder rubber ball for more challenge, or a hand exerciser.
Desk Calisthenics – there are quite a few seated exercise routines online. You can also do a few squats, or press your palms together as hard as you can to exercise your arms. Every bit helps. Here’s a link to a great “chairborne” exercise program from an Army Manual printed in 1952.
Inside your Castle
Yoga – you can learn anything on YouTube. All you need is clean floor space.
Tai Chi – again, YouTube. It’s fun, relaxing, and good for balance.
Weight lifting – with creativity you can find all kinds of heavy things to lift. Just be careful of form. Dead lifts with two buckets of water and broom handle to hang on to? Sure! Arm curls with cans of beans or stew? You bet! Most of this can be done in the middle of other activities.
Basic calisthenics – less boring if you don’t do the same ones all the time, and better with music. I know someone who did jumping jacks every time the Patriots scored a touchdown.
Dancing – sounds cheesy, but when the music is loud enough, anything is possible.
Stretching – make it a part of your day, just like your cat does.
Wall pushups – also good to do on a countertop. Real pushups are even better if you can do them.
Exercise tubes/bands – a set of them is quite cheap, easy to store, and can be used for a variety of exercises. You can adjust them to suit many different strength levels, too. These are the ones I bought.
The (cozy) Outdoors
Jump Rope – A staple for boxers, a small backyard or patio is all your need. Buy them in any sporting goods store, the toy section at nearly any grocery store, or your local dollar store.
Indian Clubs – Originating in Persia, Indian clubs once were how warriors trained. They spread through many countries including India and were used by soldiers, average men, women, and children, weight lifters and wrestlers in the Victorian era. Here’s where to buy some, here’s how to find out how to use them, and there are articles about how to make them online.
Exercise Mace – Great for your core. Not expensive to buy, definitely possible to make, doesn’t need much space. It’s also rather fun. Here’s a good intro on how to use them, and here’s where to buy them if you don’t want to make one. I chose the 7 lb size because that’s best to start with.
Hammers – you can do many of the same Indian Club exercises with a pair of light hammers. You may want to pad the heads to avoid injury, and go slow and light at first.
Kettlebell – Yes, you have to buy this one too, but it’s possible to find used ones at some sporting goods stores and they aren’t expensive. You can do many exercises with one and not have to buy a lot of expensive equipment. Here’s where to find them.
Plyometrics – all you need is a sturdy plywood box, and a decent pair of shoes. You can buy the box or build one, or sweet talk a friendly wood worker. Also, be careful and research plyometrics pretty well before starting, the exercises need to be done properly for safety.
Sand Bags – some people do quite varied exercises with nothing more than a sand bag. They are good for training with odd loads and building functional strength. Information here.
Hula Hoop – they’re back! And they’re fun! Great for working your core.
Add music to any of these for even less boredom. Try new stuff. Don’t let your playlist get stale.
If you want to exercise more, make it easy. Leave your sneakers by the door, stash the exercise bands by the TV, put the hula hoop near your patio, yard, or large patch of floor.
Use the “do just one” rule. Every day, make a commitment to yourself to do just one rep of an exercise. It seems simple, and it is, but when you are already in the position to do just one, you often find yourself doing a few more. It kicks you past your inertia.
A final note: I am not affiliated with the Art of Manliness, though I wish I were. I think it’s an awesome site. The info there is solid and well researched. Likewise, the other links are gave are to solid websites that don’t have a million ads or viruses. I am an Amazon Affiliate however.