There are two essential ingredients to healthy living and keeping those extra ten pounds off: eating healthy and engaging in fun exercise. Balancing the budget to accommodate both can be a bit of a challenge. Healthy whole foods and fresh vegetables tend to be more expensive, which eats into the budget for exercise and physical activity. With the economy prompting even further belt-tightening of the family finances, being able to balance these two expenses is even more important.

Since the cost of food is something that people have to deal with every day, the cost of good exercise is often ignored. However, there are ways to save on exercise as well that will free up some cash to improve on your diet.

The good news about many healthy physical activities is that a lot of them are completely free, such as running and hiking. Participating in sports is also a good way to have fun while keeping the body healthy. In fact, most experts suggest focusing on fun activities rather than exercise, because it’s more likely that you will stick to them. But, while playing sports is more fun and ultimately healthy, often they require expensive equipment or play pitches.

Free activities Many free activities also require going outdoors, which again is great for health. But on snowy or rainy days, or if you live in places where the thermometer regularly rises above 100 degrees, it can be hard to get out as much as you’d like. This is why a lot of people have opted to bring their exercise regimen into the house: it’s easier to access, more flexible with scheduling and the cost can be offset on saved gym membership fees.

Among the more popular alternatives are treadmills, stationary bikes and stair masters. Elliptical machines are becoming more popular, but their relative price keeps them beyond the budget of many people. If you like running during good weather, a treadmill is a great option, because it can help you keep up your usual fitness without leaving your house.

Stationary bikes are also a popular option because they help tone legs and some of the upper body, while also allowing you to listen to music and even watch your favorite shows during workouts. If it’s your first time on a bike, look for a budget bike trainer to maximize the results from your machine.

If the price of new indoor exercise equipment looks a little steep for your budget, check out some local garage sales or eBay auctions for used treadmills, stationary bikes and other equipment. Much of the used equipment is almost new and in excellent condition. Another suggestion would be to pool resources with family, neighbors and friends to buy a machine together and then share.

Remember, healthy activity is just as important as healthy eating to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. Just ten minutes of easy, moderate physical activity can significantly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, and contribute to greater longevity. Physical activity adds up during the day, so just five minutes four times a day can give you a good twenty minute workout that will leave you feeling more energetic and youthful. Try it today!

Jana

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