5 Ways Students Can Work Out On a Budget
Jul 03, 2012
Whether or not you've already packed on the freshman 15, you may be thinking of exercising regularly. It's important to stay fit during your college years because your body is still developing. But gyms are expensive, and perhaps you don't like the college workout facilities. These five tips will keep you active while not thinning your wallet.
1. Use Your Groceries
This may sound like a strange suggestion, but items that you have lying around your dorm room can act as weights. For beginners, soup (or ravioli) cans provide just enough added weight to make your muscles work extra. This doesn't just work for bicep and triceps exercises, you can also work your shoulders, chest, abs and back. To work your abdominals, hold the can when doing crunches or do side rotations.
To complete a side rotation, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift soup cans or (full) water bottles in front of your chest, arms extended. Turn your torso, but keep your hips and head facing forward. When you've reached your limit, twist your torso and arms in the opposite direction until you can't go any further. Do this move 20 times to complete a rotation. Increase the number of times as you get comfortable with the exercise.
2. Home Gym
For a small start up cost, you can create your own home gym. Yes, soup cans are free, but many dollar stores carry one- or two-pound weights. For females, especially, small hands may appreciate the curved handles of real weights. Other great products that are inexpensive include resistance bands (under ten dollars at most stores) and furniture sliders.
Furniture sliders may be a confusing addition, but for under $20 you've got yourself an inexpensive workout machine. Use it as an ab-roller by kneeling on a stable surface. With your hands on the sliders, push forward and pull back in one fluid movement. Using the footboard of your bed to steady yourself, use the furniture sliders to move back and forth - working on your thighs and hips. Or, while planking, place your toes on the sliders to spread your legs and bring them back together in a scissoring motion (advanced move).
3. Fitness Websites
Magazine subscriptions can be expensive, which is why you may not have any. Most magazines have websites that, while not including all tips and articles, do offer some highlights and exercises that can benefit you. Sign up for a free account with fitnessmagazine.com to see low-fat recipes and trouble zone-targeting exercises. Other websites that promote health, such as fitness.com, provide articles, recipes and exercises that can be done in the home (and with those resistance bands). You can even create a workout specific for you and print it out for easy access.
Without cable in dorms, many students have turned to the low-cost services of Netflix.com for entertainment. Sure, you can catch up on blockbusters and your favorite shows, but did you know they also have workout videos? This is an excellent way to save money because exercise videos are expensive. Also, since you can keep the video as long as you want, you can do the same workout for weeks and then return it for another when you get bored. Or, if an exercise plan isn't your thing (despite the Internet description) you can return it with no cost to you.
There are even reward sites out there dedicated to improving America's health. S2H.com works with companies to offer gift cards as rewards for activity. You need to buy their pedometer (currently priced at $24.95), but after you register 10,000 steps, you'll receive a code for points. These points can lead to restaurant, movie and clothing gift certificates. The best part? Walking is free, so after the cost of the pedometer there are no additional fees!
Want to make exercise your career? Find out what a fitness studies major is!