Exercising (and Saving Money) Without Realizing It

Contributed by: Gerri Harmer Gerri Harmer

Exercise without realizing it? Really?  Really! I know it sounds too good to be true but let’s think about this whole exercise thing in a new way.  We can have fun and save money while getting a good workout!

Spending 20-30 minutes a day on aerobic activity does not mean you have to be sweating to the oldies in front of the TV or forking over your hard-earned money to a personal trainer.  While exercise videos and personal trainers are fabulous and very effective, they might not be your favorite things to do, which means you probably are not very motivated to jump in and may find excuses to put it off.

Why not opt for a less stressed, enjoyable exercise option once in a while? Take a 30-minute bike ride through your favorite neighborhood. Increase your heart rate, take in nature, say “hi” to the neighbors, and let the wind blow through your hair. Better yet, put a basket on the front and bike to the store for that bread you needed to pick up.  Or, load your bike on the back of the car, park and ride your bike through your favorite metro park or sightsee in a new town.  It’s the best way to see the city, stopping whenever you like to get a better look without holding up traffic while getting access to areas you couldn’t get to with a vehicle.  You are now stress free, you have endorphins flowing, and you didn’t spend a dime.

How about having a hula hoop contest or playing catch with your kids or grandkids? Water balloons? Bowling?  I’ve never been as sore as the day after I’ve gone bowling -- it kicks my tail! Taking a new dance or martial class are fantastic ways to move and learn something interesting. You get toned and your friends are amazed with your new skills.  It feels like cheating because it’s so much fun and it didn’t cost any more than your normal recreational activity. 

More ways to save AND get a workout?  

  1. Go for a hike. Meet up with friends or fly solo for a respite. Clean out those mental cobwebs.
  2. Try gardening. Make your yard the envy of the neighborhood or grow an organic garden.
  3. Join a recreation league. Make some new friends by joining a softball, soccer, horseshoes, or bocce ball team.
  4. Play a game with your kids or grandkids.  A good game of capture the flag, tag or kickball gets the adrenaline going while spending time with your family. 
  5. Play an interactive video game.  They have tons of games that get you running, jumping, dancing, chopping, and shuffling. Your kids and/or grandkids will think you are so cool.
  6. Try new things.  Ever heard of LARPing (live action role playing) or Geocaching?

You get the idea. What are you going to do first?

Gerri Harmer is a Client Service Manager at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.