Exercise isn’t an easy thing to fit into your lifestyle. Most people in our generation can’t afford gym fees because our student loan debt is keeping us indentured for many years to come, some of us might live in dangerous neighborhoods, we might have long commutes, or hey, life. But don’t worry, you can incorporate exercise into your life in various ways. Note: please talk to your doctor before starting new routines, be safe, and have (free) fun!
1. The Seven Minute Scientific Workout. Yup, scientists invented a 7 minute workout so you don’t have to. I actually tried it and it nearly killed me. The great thing is that you don’t really need to buy equipment to do the workouts and if your body gets used to the routine, you can try doing the routine twice.
2. Join a critical mass. This is only free if you already have a bike laying around, but you can always get a cheap one off Craigslist. Anyway, a critical mass is usually a gathering of folks who like to ride their bikes and who want to get together and have fun. If one doesn’t exist in your town you can always create one with your friends. If biking isn’t your thing maybe you can use roller blades or skateboards. They’re a great way to meet new people and use a bike, roller blades or skateboards in a large crowd so you can feel much safer.
3. While we’re on the topic of bikes, if you can safely do so and when weather permits, try biking to work. My last year of college I’d mostly bike to school and classes. Not only did my legs get super ripped, I saved a lot of money and always felt energized.
4. Try office stretches. For those of you who really are in a rush and spend a lot of time in an office environment, then office exercises will have to do. I work as a freelance writer and have tried a few of these, or I get up and walk/run in place. The point is to keep the blood flowing and reduce strain on your back from sitting all day.
5. Take the stairs. Many of us work in buildings, live in them, or go to school in them. If we don’t we probably go to malls, airports or buildings with escalators and elevators, so why not simply take the stairs instead? I actually started doing this seven years ago when I lived in DC for an internship program and find that it’s faster than elevators or escalators, and when I feel unmotivated I play the Rocky theme song in my head. It’s incredibly silly but effective.
6. Implement walking meetings into your work environment. It’s a lot easier to do this if you’re in upper management, but walking meetings have been proven to be efficient for various reasons. They can help workers feel more creative, they create a more casual environment, and they help reduce distractions by keeping you away from computers and phones. If anything, take a walk during your breaks even if you’re not in management. Maybe other co-workers will join you as well.
7. Learn a new dance move. Have you always wanted to learn the moonwalk? The hustle? The whip and nae nae? There are plenty of YouTube users that have dedicated themselves to teaching others how to dance. If you find that you have two left, then the next best thing to do is to just turn up the music, dance like no one is watching, and be safe so as not to injure yourself.
8. Try the Couch to 5K I first heard of this a few years ago when asking a friend how I could get back in shape after not working out for a while. Due to a knee injury years ago I had to run in sand only or not at all, but for those of you who are totally healthy this is a worldwide challenge. 5K is totally doable especially if you allot the 9 weeks this program takes.
9. Use apps. Technology is often treated as the culprit of many evils, but in some cases it can help you get in shape. Even though not all apps are free there are plenty that are. Some even sync your heartbeat to your running routine, help you keep track of miles, and even help you keep track of marathon trainings.
10. And yes, there are ways to exercise if you have limited mobility. Free exercise isn’t just for the able-bodied. This site has great resources for folks who have limited mobility due to injury, congenital conditions, or other situations. Thankfully there are many resources out there for folks with wheelchairs and visibility about this is increasing as people with disabilities speak about their rights as well.