Things you will NOT see listed here will include: a gym membership, expensive cardio equipment, heart rate monitors, weights (while are good for working out, we are focusing on more fitness based lifestyle), an Ipod, your cell phone, plasma TV, Wii, or supplements. What you will find are easy (and most inexpensive) ways to keep active, healthy and fit for life….and isn’t that the real goal for most of us? I can’t count how many people just focus on getting flat abs, and do all the wrong things and never get them…..and then you find people who just stay active, don’t belong to a gym and yet still get flat abs because of it. Funny how that works!
So this list is based on 3 different rating scales: Fun, Effective and Lasting (for a lifetime of health and wellness). No gimmicks, no quick weight loss scams, just the things we know work and will get real results. So lets get started!
This simple piece of fitness equipment has been around for decades and is one easiest ways to get your heart racing. Why people don’t use this anymore is beyond me, but for $5 you can probably get more results consistently using this than any $1000+ piece of fancy cardio equipment.
Use it first thing in the morning, at lunch, or anytime during the day. Keep it in your car, use it at the park, or even in your garage on a rainy day.
With only 10 minutes, I guarantee you can get a good workout in (and generate those fat releasing hormones we want to stimulate with exercise ). Try this, after a couple minutes of warmup, go for 30 sec intervals of fast skipping followed by 30 sec of slower and then repeat. See if you can last 10 minutes of that….and then next time go for 11…12…or more!
Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
Want to get back to feeling connected to nature? Want to get back your natural stride for walking/running and ditch all those ortho-inserts? Well then going barefoot is the way to go.
But I know, most of us are not going to run around barefoot. But we can get as close as it comes with the Vibram line of five fingers shoes. Put on a pair of these and you may actually enjoy walking around more often!
Use them for walking, hiking, running or whatever you enjoy. Let your body find it’s natural stride and movement once again. Plus the best part is explaining to everyone what and why you are wearing them!
Backup plan: If these are not an option (for you to wear), get a pair of good daily sandals and let your feet and toes be free to move around in the fresh air.
Portable Pull-up Straps
You know why most everyone hates pullups? Because they aren’t good at them! Well guess what….get good at something and you will like it….and the only way to get better is with practice. Shocking I know!
Most people have very weak back/scapula retractor muscles which will lead to excess strain on your neck, posture issues and other muscle imbalances that could lead to injury (such as with the shoulder). So a program of doing “pulling based” exercise is key for health and muscle balance.
My favorite portable workout tool that I have used with clients is a pair of pullup straps that you can hang almost anywhere (like from a tree, overhead bar, or even from a door jam inside). There are many kinds of options like gymnastic rings and pullup bars as well, but the cheapest solution to buy is the Lifeline Jungle Gym (at about $49…compared to others at $100-$150+).
The bonus part is you can also do other fun exercises such as pushups, dips. ab roll outs, diagonal chops, inverted body rows, and more. It’s a travelling playground for adults!
Other options: finding a local playground to go climb and pull yourself up on for free.
So just get rid of them once and for all, and get a safer and longer lasting Swiss aluminum water bottle. Whether you fill it up at home from a filter, buy 5 gallons of spring water or take it right from the glacier itself….this bottle is sturdy, safer and will last probably your lifetime.
Not only that…it looks cool in many different designs (and can clip on easily to carry with you). Start a new trend around the office and help others get away from putting more chemicals into their body (not a good thing).
Who doesn’t love a game of catch with a Frisbee? Take this out in the yard, to the park, at the beach, anywhere you have some open space. Play with friends, family, kids, spouse, or even your dog (if he can throw it back….put him on YouTube and be famous). You can get in a great little workout just sprinting around chasing the Frisbee, especially if you get a bunch of people together for a game of ultimate Frisbee.
Heck you can even find a new relaxing sport to go play with Frisbee (disc) golf at many courses that don’t even cost you anything (compare that to a $80 green fee for regular golf). Have fun and just get out and play!
Runner up award - tennis ball. It is something you can play with as well…but it can also double as a deep tissue massage therapist for getting those knots out of tight muscles. Just roll around on top of a tennis ball and you will feel it go to work!
I think we all know what this is used for. So go hit the beach, jump in a pool, or find a lake. Enjoy some nice cold water (that will get the blood going) and have some fun. You can just go for a swim (and use muscles you probably didn’t even know you had) or do some other fun stuff like running through the water (tiring), take up surfing (or maybe just boogie boarding), or have a chicken fight with friends.
Getting in water is the best way I know to cool off especially on a hot summers day (and you’ll get some much needed Vitamin D from the sun ….for a strong healthy immune system). Also knowing you will be seen in a bathing suit might be the motivation you need to eat right and stay fit!
Import note: Life Spotlight and it’s editors will NEVER endorse the wearing of speedos or thongs….on men….ever.
Have more fun getting around town with your tool from when you were a kid, a bike that is. Whether you have a road bike, mountain bike or man sized Big Wheel….get out and peddal around in the fresh air.
Personally I’m all for the fun and excitement of riding a mountain bike (mainly because of the up and down hills, and being out in nature away from cars and traffic…more relaxing).
Want to take it up a notch? Then make it a single speed…and learn that there are no easy gears, just how hard you need to pedal right now to get up that hill in front of you.
Other substitutions: could include such things as rollerblades, skateboards or whatever other human powered vehicle you can find.
What the?? A book? Ok….maybe that’s what you are thinking, but let me explain. A big part of our “lasting” fitness lifestyle is going to be about be able to relax and enjoy life. Going full speed/stressed all the time will just lead you down a road of (adrenal) burnout, metabolic (thyroid) disorders, chronic fatigue and then all the issues that can come from that (weight gain, diseases). Not exactly a good lifestyle approach if you ask me.
Sometimes we just need to slow down, relax, be inspired, let our creativity flow….and a good book can certainly help out with that. Whether you like the Zen stuff (like “The Power of Less” ), inspiring biographies, informative health/fitness books (I could use this opportunity for a shameless plug for my ebook, but I’ll resist for now. lol), or even some fun fiction…just read what you enjoy.
So turn off the laptop, put the cell phone on quiet, leave the Ipod at home and take time for yourself to recharge your internal batteries and enjoy a good book!
This can be used for many different reasons. Not only can you do some hiking with it or more walking around your area, but it can also be a fun tool for more advanced bodyweight movements.
Put in some heavy books, gallon of water, bag of sand, or anything heavy and you now have an inexpensive weight vest. Add more resistance and challenges to movements such as pushups, dips, pullups, squats, lunges or whatever other full body movements you can come up with.
Here’s the best part of it all…..take your backpack and put in it your:
Pullup Body Straps
Aluminum Water Bottle
A Good Book
Then put on some swim trunks, slip on the Vibram Five Fingers, hop on your bike, and go to the beach, park or wherever. Go live your life outside of the gym with your friends and family. Be fit for life….and enjoy every moment of it!
For the readers: Have you got something to add to the list? Then tell us your essential fitness lifestyle tools that you also enjoy in the comments section below.