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Getting Cheap Fitness Gear and Instruction

Part of the Fitness For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Improving your physical fitness doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg — look for ways to cut costs on fitness equipment and exercise instruction. Sure, you can buy a fancy gym membership, spend $200 an hour on a trainer, or buy a $4,000 treadmill that does everything short of fix you an espresso. But you can become just as fit, toned, slim, and flexible spending virtually nothing. Here’s how:

  • Instead of buying dumbbells, lift cooking-oil or cleaning-liquid bottles filled with sand, pebbles, or water. Many bottles are indented in the center (just like a dumbbell), so they’re easier to grip than a soup can. Wear a filled backpack to add resistance to lunges and squats.

  • Buy a jump rope (oh, and use it, too). You can get a good one for less than $2! Jumping rope strengthens your cardiovascular system, improves your agility, burns up to 15 calories per minute, and tones your thighs, calves, abdominals, back, chest, and shoulders. Plus, you can take your rope with you anywhere.

  • Invest in a physioball. For about $30, you can buy a giant, sturdy plastic ball, one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment around. You can kneel on the ball to improve your balance, lean back on it to do strength exercises, or drape your back across it to stretch out your spine.

  • See whether your cable operator offers ExerciseTV on demand. This means you can fire up a workout any time. Some of these workouts are the same found on DVDs available for sale. If you’re already paying for cable, the workouts are free.

  • If you already own an MP3 player and computer, flip to the podcast section of iTunes. You can find tons of free workout podcasts, both audio and video, for everything from yoga workouts to running techniques. You also can find some free, high-quality workouts on sites such as YouTube.

  • Sign up for joint personal-training sessions with a friend. This has become more popular and acceptable over the past few years in both clubs and in home training. Choose a friend who’s at a similar fitness level as you.

  • Look for nonmotorized equipment on Craigslist or eBay, or get it via giveaways on Freecycle. For used higher-end equipment, go through an authorized dealer that gives you a warranty. When you buy new, ask for a discount, and if you’re buying several items, ask the salesperson to throw in a complimentary accessory, such as a rubber floor mat. Also ask about interest-free payment plans.

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Fitness For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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