I just read a great post about how to get your exercise without breaking the bank. Of course it's true, you don't have to join a gym to get fit, and it doesn't have to be a chore, it can actually be something you find fun (not to mention cheap!) Many of the exercise tips on SVB's post are actually tactics I will incorporate in my upcoming retired life simply to balance the budget; I hadn't even considered the effect on my caloric budget. When I clean my own house, do my own gardening, and paint my own walls, I not only save money but burn calories at the same time!
As I get closer to my retirement date, a funny thing is happening to me. I am actually beginning to feel YOUNGER (not older as the word "retirement" might to elicit). In fact, a better word than younger is childlike. I'm starting to feel like a kid again! Remember how it felt in elementary school right before summer vacation? That's how I feel. I'm thinking of all the things I did on those summer vacations and realizing that I want to play again, and these are great ways to exercise on the cheap.
For my 40th birthday, my parents got me exactly what I asked for, a pogo stick. Not an ordinary pogo stick, a state-of-the-art Razor pogo stick. I am the envy of every 12 year old on the block. It's hard to believe when I was in the 4th grade my friends and I spent hours taking turns jumping. Now, as an adult, I can maybe manage 100 jumps before needing air, seriously, it's hard--but fun.
2. Hula Hoop
The bonus gift was a hula hoop (actually two--and yes I can hula with both at the same time, I am JUST THAT talented!) I am not the only adult that thinks this is good, fun exercise. Last August while at Coney Island, we watched a hula hoop contest (and yes, it was ALL adults, no kids!) The San Francisco Chronicle ran an article last week about a growing trend toward adult exercise classes incorporating hula hoops. Save a few bucks, skip the class and get your own hoop--what better way to suffer through another episode of American Idol than to hula hoop your way through it.
3. Jump Rope
This is another of those I-can't-believe-I-used-to-do-this-for-hours activity. A few minutes of jumping rope and I feel like my heart might just jump right out of my chest. Definitely great exercise.
Turn on the radio and dance. Better yet, invite a bunch of friends over for Karaoke--you don't think that's exercise? Has anyone ever sung Copa Cabana without starting a conga line around the room? And it's a very long song, by the way. (Oops, this one is at best a break-even activity calorie-wise, usually the quantity of alcohol consumption negates any potential calorie burn.)
You don't have to be an avid cyclist to enjoy a nice bike ride. My parents ride their cruisers many times a week to their favorite coffee shop. On hot days, we ride our bikes to town for ice cream (burns more calories than waiting for the ice cream truck to come to you.) Just ride around your neighborhood, you don't have to climb mountains or enter a race to get exercise, just ride like you did when you were a kid--to actually GET somewhere!
6. Wash Your Car
Perhaps because it wasn't really a chore when we were kids, we really thought this was fun (and often we got paid a couple dollars for it which really made it fun). But on a hot day, it can really feel good to wash your own car (gets you moving, keeps you cool, and saves a few bucks!)
7. Re-decorate your room
Perhaps I was one of only a few aspiring interior decorator kids, but I loved moving all my furniture around every so often for a new "look". Move some furniture around now for a new look, if you hate it you can always move it back (remember to view it as a workout rather than a complete waste of time in that case.)
There are so many other activities that will make you feel like a kid again because you're just having fun, go play in your neighbor's pool, play some tennis, play with your dog, or if you live in a colder climate, have a snowball fight. If you're lucky, you won't even know you'r exercising.