Sunday, July 4, 2010

Top 5 Exercises to Keep Fit and Save

I hope you had a great Canada long weekend! Some of you may have gone to the beach or lake this holiday and when it is time to break out the swimsuits we all get a little self-conscious about our body image. Toning up is always a lot of work and in some ways it can be costly if you purchase a gym membership.

Gym memberships can be expensive but your health is worth it, unfortunately a lot of people who do get memberships end up not using them. Usually gyms charge initiation fees from $100-120 and continuous monthly fees anywhere from $30 and up. Some better gyms will let you pay for only the months you plan to go while others make you sign contracts. I recommend signing up for a gym that gives you the month to month pay as you go flexibility. This is because when the weather is nice out you can do a lot of your exercising outdoors. There are tons of great exercises that you can do without a gym membership. The only weight you'll put on is from all that cash you save in your wallet!

Top 5 exercises that don't require a gym membership:

1. Cardiovascular - jogging

All you need is a good pair of running shoes. I recommend planning a route that is close to home and that you can extend or shorten depending on how you feel along the run. The trick is to make it a habit so you're going at least 3 to 4 times a week. Having a jogging partner usually helps that way even if you don't feel like going you have someone who pushes you.

2. Cardiovascular - bicycling

This may be a little more expensive since it requires a bike. It would be a good idea to try to look for a used bike. They same rules apply to cycling as they do to jogging.

3. Upper Body - push-ups & pull-ups

Push-ups are a great upper body workout that targets your triceps, chest and abdominal muscles. We've all done them before in gym class but probably haven't done them since. There are tons of variations on this classic exercise for example propping up your feet or changing the position of your hands. Pull-ups is another great upper body exercise that targets your biceps and back muscles. You may need a chin-up bar for this if you don't have something very sturdy around the house that can support your weight.

4. Core - sit-ups and crunches

This is a great core exercise that will give you a stomach you can grate cheese on. There are tons of infomercials hocking products that will give you a wash board stomach. Essentially you can get the same results by just lying on the ground and doing crunches. The trick to having your ab muscles show is not by doing crunches until you pass out but by lowering your body fat percentage. Your body fat has to be below 10% or so for these muscles to show so it may come down to good dieting than just exercise alone.

5. Lower Body - squats & lunges

It is not enough just to jog or cycle to build your leg muscles. Although those exercises do require the use of your legs, they are primarily exercises for your heart and lungs. Squats and lunges are leg exercises that target all the main leg muscles. You can use your own body weight or for extra challenge you can hold hand weights.


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