I’ve always been skinny. It’s not that I don’t eat a lot of food, or I always eat healthy food, and it is not that I hold to a rigorous exercise schedule. I was just naturally born that way. I’m also quite tall, I’m about 6’3″, so my skinniness has always been quite obvious. To make matters worse (better?), ever since I graduated from college I’ve been working manual labour jobs. I did irrigation installation for awhile, and then I was a meter reader for a year and a half. Obviously those jobs were quite physically intensive, so I never put on weight. However, a few months ago I switched to an office job. I had never worked in an office before, and at first, it was quite lovely to sit all day. And while I’m still not exactly “large”, I have put on quite a bit of weight over the last few months, something that I’m not looking forward to keeping around.
So I’ve been exploring various exercise options. I thought about buying a bike, but living on the West Coast like I do, good biking weather is only available a few months of the year. I also looked into the local gyms and recreation centres, but those hold quite a hefty price tag, and I haven’t even found the motivation to stop by for a quick workout or swim, so I doubt I would use the full monthly pass. There’s also a gym in my office building, and it is a little more reasonably priced, but again, I haven’t found the motivation to bring a change of clothes, not to mention the monthly fee.
Taking the stairs
So I’ve been looking for smaller ways to combat my lack of movement, and I’d like to share a couple of methods that I’ve been using to feel better about my body. The first was the smallest of steps, literally. I work on the 4th floor of our office building, so I’ve started taking the stairs every morning. It really doesn’t take much time (maybe 60 seconds), so its not like I have to carve out an hour or two, and it is just enough exercise to get my heart rate up without a huge amount of sweat or discomfort. While I don’t think that this is nearly enough exercise, it is a small change that I can do on a daily basis to burn just a few more calories than taking the elevator would. What if you don’t work in an office building? What if you work on the 15th floor? Well, there’s always the option of repeating the same set of stairs a couple of times, and you also have the option of just doing a couple of floors and taking the elevator the rest of the way. Stair climbing, I’ve been told, burns more calories per minute than jogging, so think about giving it a try sometime over the next week. I’m so addicted to it I’ve climbed the the 6th floor before doubling back down, just for the heck of it.
Another form of free exercise I’ve found has been doing yoga. Yes, I am a man, and yes, I do yoga. Depending on what forms you are practising, it can honestly be a surprisingly difficult workout. My wife has a few DVDs, and while some of them are primarily just stretching and posing, a number of the exercise videos actually bring you through a series of “strength” positions that require strength, flexibility, and balance to maintain. While getting into the pose is not necessarily difficult, maintaining it is, and doing “Power Yoga” for 30-60 minutes can definitely bring some sweat to one’s forehead. The only cost involved in doing yoga would be the purchasing of the DVDs and perhaps a floor mat. Both of these, however, are optional, as you can very easily find free yoga videos online, and you don’t necessarily need a mat (though it does make the exercising a little more comfortable).
More free exercise options
In addition to these two options, you can always get into other forms of free exercise, like doing push-ups and sit ups, as well as going for a run or jog, or even just a long hike around your house. If you can’t stand the thought of wasting time just exercising, then you can always invest some time working on some outdoor projects that require strength and cardio to complete, such as landscaping, carpentry, building a rock garden, or home renovations. There’s tons of ways to keep fit while being productive, so there shouldn’t be any excuse to avoid exercising for a lack of time or money.
How do you keep fit for free?