By far, the most popular New Year's resolutions are always about money and fitness. People vow to make and keep to a budget or increase their incomes, while others decide that THIS will be the year they finally shed those extra pounds. In fact, these resolutions are so popular that there are millions of people who made saving money and staying (or getting) in shape their 2009 New Year's Resolution! At first, it may seem the two are a bit contradictory; it costs money to eat healthy, go to a gym or buy home exercise equipment. Personal finance blogs all over the 'net tell you to get rid of the gym membership whenever they're helping you save money, so how are you supposed to stay in shape and save money at the same time? Taking care of your health is a necessity - here are 5 ways to save money and stay in shape:
1) If you really must use a gym for motivation or lack of space to work out at home; the time to join is RIGHT NOW. Gyms are pretty smart, they know that January marks the time of year when people are declaring their goals for losing weight. To help encourage people, gyms offer specials for joining in January. If you're going to join a gym, look for one offering a New Year special and save big. Sometimes if you pay a year's membership in advance, you can save even more - just be sure you aren't going to be among the 80% of people who give up on their resolutions within 30 days of making them!
2) Set up an inexpensive and small scale home gym. Gone are the days when you need a full basement or extra room to house bulky exercise equipment and racks of dumbells just to get your workout done at home. There are a number of gadgets on the market that get your strength training done without breaking the bank or using half your home. The Gravity Bar secures in a door way and for less than $100, you can strength train with some fancy gravity based moves, like push-ups, pull-ups, bicep curls, lunges, dips and more. If you remember to go for a walk, jog or ride your bike, you'll have a complete cardio and strength training work out available right from home.
3) Join organized activities for good causes. There are Walks-for-cures, runs and triatholons for all different illnesses and diseases, used as fundraising events all over the country. Joining organized events like these will motivate you to train for the event and keep focused on the goal. You'll probably have to raise money as part of the requirements, but people like to know they're supporting worthwhile causes like cancer, autism, or MS to name a few, and you can feel good about improving your own health and helping other people with theirs, too.
4) Check your local schools, YMCA and your employer for organized sports you could participate in. Many offer adult teams that allow you to participate in the sport of your choice for fun, light competition and exercise. The fees for being part of the teams vary, and if you're lucky enough to have an employer-sponsored sports team, chances are you won't have to pay anything at all to join.
5) Incorporate more activity into your daily routine. If you live close enough to work or school, walk or ride a bike instead of driving or catching a ride. Sure, you'll have to leave a little earlier and it will take longer to get home, but this burst of daily activity will go a long way to helping you get or stay in shape and save money on transportation costs. Other ways to incorporate more activity into a daily routine include:
using the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator
parking further away from your destination and walking the distance
pacing or walking around when talking on the phone
tightening stomach muscles while sitting at work at your desk
stretching and doing floor exercises during commercials of your favorite television shows
doing lunges as you walk from one room to another in your home
It is possible to keep your New Year's resolutions to both save money and stay in shape - you just have to think outside the box a little… and remember you'll need more than willpower to keep your new year's resolution.