Christmas is on it’s way along with the all the cookies, candy and other food we only eat this time of year!!
Let’s face it, we want to eat all that goodness without any guilt. So what can you do? One thing is to step up your exercise routine. Below are some inexpensive options to help change your routine without costing you any money.
Inexpensive Fitness Necessities
You don’t need a stair machine to benefit from stair exercises — just use any set of stairs in your home or neighborhood. One 2000 study showed taking the stairs for just over 13 minutes per day can help improve your heart rate, breathing ability and HDL cholesterol levels.
A gym towel is an inexpensive alternative to resistance bands or a medicine ball. No matter where you are, if you have a towel, you have an effective workout tool that can be used for exercises like sliding push-ups, leg curls, isometric shoulder press, and a wide variety of stretching exercises.
A chair can be a very useful exercise tool. Use it for push-ups, tricep dips, squats, lat pulls, or abdominal exercises.
A foam roller is a helpful tool for stretching and loosening tight muscles. It can be used on multiple parts of your body, and is particularly helpful for stretching your hamstring muscles prior to performing any high intensity exercise.
A rope is particularly helpful for performing Active Isolated Stretches (AIS), which is necessary prior to any high intensity exercise like sprinting, in order to help prevent painful injury.
Resistance tubing and bands are portable devices that are relatively inexpensive and quite versatile. You can perform just about any exercise with a tube and they even come in different resistances (they are usually color-coded for this reason.
Jumping rope is a good old-fashioned way to warm up and get your juices flowing. Warming up for 10 minutes increases your core body temperature and gets synovial fluid moving and oils your joints, which will help prevent injury.
A medicine ball is a weighted exercise ball that can be used for a wide variety of exercises to promote muscle building, flexibility and range of motion. Balls are available in a variety of weighs ranging from two to 25 pounds.
A bosu ball can be purchased for about $100 and is a great device that will help improve your balance and core muscles.
With the ball portion of the kettlebell suspended below the handle, the additional pull away from the body shifts the leverage of your movements. This change of leverage makes your body work harder. Combined with the quick, total-body movements and interval training, you can get up to double the benefits from your kettlebell workout in half the time. Especially if you’re limited in your exercise time, then this is for you.
Waist circumference is one of the best ways to evaluate whether or not you may have a weight problem as it will also give you an indication of your intra-abdominal fat mass — something that BMI or weight on a scale cannot do. All you need is a flexible measuring tape.
Body fat calipers are one of the most trusted and most accurate ways to measure body fat. A body fat or skinfold caliper is a lightweight, hand-held device that quickly and easily measures the thickness of a fold of your skin with its underlying layer of fat. Taken at three very specific locations on your body, these readings can help you estimate the total percent of body fat within your entire body. You can pick up a set of calipers for about $5.
Heart Rate Monitor
If you’re doing high intensity interval exercises, you may want to invest in a heart rate monitor. In these exercises you want to raise your heart rate up to, or beyond, your calculated maximum heart rate (220-your age) for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a 90-second recovery period. You want to make sure you’re pushing yourself to your anaerobic threshold, as this is where the “magic” happens that will trigger your growth hormone release. However, it’s nearly impossible to accurately measure your heart rate manually when it is above 150, which is why a heart rate monitor is needed.