How to stay in shape on a budget


Heather Kemp

Students practice lifting dumbbells in a power sculpting class in EGA 114 at the Elk Grove Center on Feb. 24.

Emiliano Martin, Staff Writer

We’re all aware of the need to live a healthier lifestyle, but there are so many options and it can be overwhelming. Diets ask someone to give up too much, while health fads yield empty results, but take your money.

In 2013, 72 percent of Internet users looked online for health information and about a third of them were asked to pay to get access to the information, according to the Pew Research Center.

So, how can you stay in good physical shape, while also staying in good financial shape?

The first step, which may be the most difficult, is to become more conscious of what you eat.

The easiest thing to remember is to balance each meal equally with fruits and vegetables, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which means ordering the healthier option at the drive-thru or avoiding the drive-thru altogether.

The healthiest solution is having a home-cooked meal, but many only have a few minutes to spare. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are quick, inexpensive alternatives to fresh produce and are touted because they maintain more nutrients than fresh produce after a few days, according to research by the University of California, Davis.

Next, your improved diet is best accompanied by physical activity, which many mistake as an expensive part of staying in shape.

Walking, for example, can be done for free. Over the course of a week, only two and a half hours of walking are needed in total for adults, which can be broken in parts, such as two fifteen minute walks a day for five days.

Walking is the simplest and has the most sustainable participation rate, according to the American Heart Association.

To stay in shape, one can also participate in yoga, which is offered at a low cost of only $5 a session by the City of Sacramento Parks and Recreation Department, but has the potential to be practiced without the classes as well.

Yoga not only strengthens your core muscles, but eases your mind. It can reduce stress, which is known to contribute to poor health, including weight gain.

Staying in shape can also be done without leaving the house and, potentially, for no money.

Pushups and situps can easily be done in any room of the house, increasing the number of sets and repetitions as opposed to purchasing equipment to accompany the workout.

Hand-held weights can be purchased for about a dollar a pound and, again, the number of sets and repetitions can be increased to receive the maximum effectiveness of the weight.

Lastly, if you feel it’s difficult to stay motivated on your own, forming a group is the most effective way to ensure you stay in shape and on track, and it’s free.

It makes exercise more entertaining and makes it more likely you’ll stick with your routine.

Staying in shape is a life long journey and there’s no better time to start than now. Fortunately, it can be done with the right information, motivation and a little money.