10 great fitness buys under $10
Yes, you can get in shape without getting into debt. Try these bargain fitness buys to boost your home workout routine
Get fit and save
Sticking to a budget doesn’t have to mean throwing your fitness goals out the window. Nix the fancy gym membership and invest in your health on a much smaller scale-at least financially. Try these fitness finds under $10 and watch your body get stronger despite what the economy is doing.
1. Resistance bands
“They are multi-functional, easy to transport and cost efficient,” says Kristin Galer, personal trainer and owner of Kay G Training in Toronto. How can you afford not to have these versatile tools in your fitness toolbag? “The variety of resistance exercises one can perform is almost limitless.” And you can adapt them to your fitness level as you get stronger. “Increasing or decreasing the distance from the stable object the band is attached to adjusts the tension/weight being lifted,” explains Galer.
2. Dance DVD
Reality shows are making dance incredibly popular these days. But venturing into a class can be daunting, to say the least. “Trying out steps in the comfort of your own home allows you to explore the steps in your own time, without the added pressure of anyone observing your progress,” says Hannah Strong, Dance Director of Aerial Dance & Acro Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. And judging by the lean physiques of our favourite dancers on the tube, there’s no denying that it’s a amazing workout. “Dance is a great form of fitness because it allows you to not only make use of your entire body through strengthening, toning and stretching but you also get to express yourself and enjoy music at the same time.”
3. Small exercise ball
Don’t let the innocent appearance of this little ball fool you. “My clients enjoy using this type of exercise ball as a prop to increase the intensity of the workout,” says certified Stott Pilates and Aradia Fitness trainer Carrie Rigney-Weatherbie of The Pilates Centre Inc. in Charlottetown, P.E.I. In particular, she cites working the inner thighs-an area most of us are always trying to improve. However, if you’re still a Pilates beginner, Rigney-Weatherbie also says that a small exercise ball can be used to correct form and even assist with exercises that are a little more difficult.
4. Jump rope
Remember counting down the minutes until recess, so you could break out the skipping ropes and indulge in a little double Dutch with your friends? Well, the classic playground game has become an ideal solo fitness pursuit. “Jumping rope is a fabulous cardiovascular tool,” says Galer, who recommends using it as either a warm-up or as a full cardio workout. “For example, following a five-minute warm-up of light jump rope, quickly increase the rope revolution speed and the frequency of your jumps for one minute. Follow that by two minutes of moderately paced walking. Repeat the entire sequence seven times and finish with a four minute cool down,” suggests Galer.
5. Agility cones
If you find yourself getting bored with your workouts, it’s time to try something new. “Agility training can really liven up a workout,” says Galer. “We typically stick to the same old routine and wonder why we aren’t seeing the benefits or changes that we expect in our bodies. Adding just a few agility exercises can activate muscle functions to stimulate change.” The cones are light and portable, says Galer. “All you need is an open space.” Use them to jump over, as distance markers and for changing direction.
$1.98 each, fitnessdepot.ca
6. Rowing-action exerciser
“I find this type of prop very effective in increasing flexion in the lower back, thus allowing the client to better ‘scoop’ their abdominals,” says Rigney-Weatherbie. And the rowing action helps engage a variety of muscles. “It also improves tone in the arms and back muscles as you are pulling on the prop with your hands.” It may not be a canoe on a placid lake, but if it gives you similar benefits in the comfort of your own living room, it’s worth it.
7. Stability ball with pump
When it comes to exercise, being on solid ground isn’t always the best thing. “When doing exercise on a mat, the ground beneath you is stable and non-moving,” says Rigney-Weatherbie. “However, performing exercises on a stability ball presents you with an unstable surface. The ball gives you constant feedback so you must concentrate on proper technique throughout all ranges of the movement.” There’s also an advantage to getting up off the mat. “Since the ball elevates you away from the floor, it presents a more 3D opportunity to conduct exercises. One can now move through a complete full range of motion, thus creating a more intense workout.”
8. Yoga block and strap combo
Along with a non-slip headband and a water bottle, these are the props you should have in your yoga mat bag. “A strap and block are excellent props to use for beginners as well as a seasoned practitioner,” says Rene Johnson of Shanti Yoga in Edmonton. “For either one they will make a difficult posture more accessible.” They can also help you to maintain correct alignment, which prevents injuries.
9. 5 lb dumbbell
“The benefits of free weights are the variety of exercises you can perform with them,” says Galer. Let’s not forget that you can also fit them in while catching up on your favourite prime time shows. And don’t be surprised if you start to see your body in a different light. “Because free weights are freely moving and not attached or guided by a piece of equipment, both primary and stabilizing muscles must be activated to complete the movement,” explains Galer.
10. Aerobie Ring
Sometimes the best exercise is the kind that you don’t even realize you’re doing. Make sure to have something like this flying ring handy, to take advantage of a beautiful day and some unplanned time spent with family and friends. Fun like that is the cheapest route to a healthy body, inside and out, that you’ll ever find.