Monday, May 9, 2011
Exercising at Home for Cheap
It's National Women's Health Week, which lines up perfectly with what I wanted to talk about today. Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health (yeah, we've heard that before, how many times?) and it's one of the best things you can do for your wallet (think less in doctor bills) and it doesn't have to be expensive.
One thing I still struggle with, though, is getting my exercise in and I'm sure I'm not alone. Even though I'm a stay at home mom, I have a very full plate! So how does a mom, or anyone for that matter, do it?
1. Track your steps. There is this little device called a pedometer, which attaches to your pants and counts every step you take. The average person takes about 4,000 steps a day. To be active, you should be taking at least 8,000 steps a day and a minimum of 10,000 steps a day if you want to lose weight. The pedometer can track for you and show how you're doing. As a pedometer wearer, I can tell you that it can be addicting to watch the numbers go up! I recommend getting a $30 to $40 one. I know that sounds like a lot of money (at least it always did in comparison to the $5 ones I saw) but as someone who has gone through multiple pedometers, I can tell you that you don't want the $5 one! They rarely keep the right count and wear out fast. If you're going to be wearing a pedometer a lot, pay a little more up front and save yourself a headache or three!
2. Use your kids (and their stuff) for strength training. Think of your toddler as a wiggly barbell. They will probably get a kick of being lifted up and down and you can get quite a bit of strength training done. For smaller weights, use various household items. I've been known to use 40 oz. ketchup bottles and full water bottles for hand weights.
3. Use your video game system. Most families now have at least one major video game system and now every single one has some way to track your movements and has accompanying exercise games. Personally we own a Wii and I use Wii Fit. This morning I did Free Step and Sunshine watched "Word World". She thought it was great and I got my exercise in!
4. Use nap time. Sunshine still takes a nap and I like to use that to do an exercise video, even if it's just 10 minutes. SparkPeople offers 10 minute exercise videos and there are many more on YouTube. YouTube is also an awesome way to learn how to properly do some of those strength training moves while at home.
5. CLEAN! Heavy Duty cleaning burns lots of calories. Half an hour can burn up to 250 calories!
6. Play with the kids. Playing with your kids can get your heart up and burn great calories while spending some quality time with the little ones.
7. Use the stairs if you have them. A great aerobic exercise is going up and down stairs quickly. Generally, you burn your weight in calories for every 15 minutes you spend doing an aerobic stair climb (so for a 200 lb. woman, you burn 200 calories in 15 minutes).
Exercising doesn't have to be expensive and for most of us, we have what we need already at our fingertips, we just have to put them in action. So for National Women's Health Week, I encourage you to spend 15 minutes today exercising at home!