One of the most important long term investments you will ever make is to your health. I would argue that taking care of your body is more important from a financial standpoint than any other investment you will ever make. The long term financial impacts from living a healthy lifestyle will provide a huge return on your investment as you grow older.
While taking care of your body is a great long term investment, the upfront costs can be expensive. From expensive gym memberships and new fitness equipment, to organic foods – staying fit can cost a lot.
Fortunately, there are several great exercises you can do to stay fit that don’t cost any money and require very little time. For example – push-ups, squats, and burpees are all free, can be done from your home, and don’t require a lot of time. There are also healthy food options available like buying locally grown vegetables such as kale, sweet potatoes, and cabbage. These are just a few inexpensive food options that are available.
If you are not into physically demanding exercises like pushups or burpees, there are also several low impact free exercises available. Here are four low impact exercises that can help you invest in your long term health. Each exercise is appropriate for any fitness level and does not cost any money.
1 – Walking
Walking doesn’t cost a dime and should be done as much as physically possible each day. Even if you don’t like to exercise, most of us should be able to add some extra steps into our day. For the most part, walking is low impact and you may not even realize you are actually exercising!
Here are 5 quick ways to add more walking into your day.
- Stairway – Always take the stairs instead of the elevator. It drives me crazy when perfectly able people opt for the elevator instead of the stairway. Unless I am going up 20 floors in a building, I always take the stairway.
- Lunch Break – I like to take advantage of my lunch break and get some exercising in. Walking is the preferred exercise since it normally does not require a shower afterwards.
- Parking Lots – Instead of driving around a parking lot searching for the closest space to the store – take the furthest spot. You won’t have to fight a crazy driver for that spot right next to the door.
- Family Time – Make it a family event and go for an evening walk. Our kids love riding their bikes now, so walking alongside them makes it an easy way to get some extra steps in.
- Lawn care – Mow your own grass – with a push mower. My neighbors all think I am crazy for cutting my own grass with a push mower. I guess I am a freak – I enjoy mowing grass.
- Go without a car – Many people can do without a car or public transportation if they live within reasonable walking distance to shopping centers and other attractions.
2 – Yoga
Yoga is another low impact exercise that improves overall flexibility and strength. I don’t claim to be a yoga expert but have tried several stretches in the past. I am always amazed when I finish doing certain stretches that I am sweating almost as much as when I am doing a cardio workout.
Doing yoga does not have to cost any money and can be done from your own home or even places like the beach!
3 – Hiking
Hiking may be a little higher impact exercise than walking (depending on the terrain), but still a great way to protect the joints and burn some calories. The nice thing about this exercise is that it can be done on any level. Beginners can opt for flatter areas with cleared walkways while more experienced hikers can go for more terrain and no cleared paths.
There are plenty benefits of hiking. For one, it gets you outside and closer to nature and the environment. This is a great way to forget about your daily troubles and reduce stress. Being outdoors, hiking can also give you a good dose of vitamin D from the sun.
Live in the city and think it is impossible to hike where you live? Check out this article on – Urban Hiking.
4 – Biking
OK this one may not be free if you don’t already own a bike. But you can almost always find a bike for free, or very little money on Craigslist, Freecycle, or in your local classifieds. Biking is a great way to get some low-impact exercise, save money on gas, and reduce your environmental impact. There are many people who can even substitute riding a bike for much, or all, or their daily driving needs. Whether you bike for pleasure, or general transportation, biking is a great way to get in shape.
Investing in your health is one of the most important financial and personal decisions you can make. A combination of a healthy diet and exercise can pay huge long term benefits not only to your body but also to your wallet.
When it comes to exercising, there is no need to worry about spending more money. There are plenty of high intensity exercises that are free that can be done in your own home. Not into high intensity exercises? There are plenty of low impact workouts that don’t take a lot of time and are free as well. A few examples include walking, yoga, and hiking.
What other low impact exercises can you add to the list?
Photo credit: Gwenael Piaser