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Low Cost Fitness for the New Year

Posted Dec 26 2010 7:00pm

An article in the New York Times entitled Burning Calories, Not a Hole in Your Wallet (I can’t wait to check out hundredpushups.com ) got me thinking about a new at home workout I’ve been enjoying.  My sister introduced me to the “ card deck workout ” this fall.  All you need for the card deck workout:

  • A deck of cards
  • Workout gear
  • Creative imagination with some knowledge of basic exercises
  • pen/paper (if you’re like me and need to remember your exercises.)
  • Music, TV or a friend (all optional)

For each suit you assign an exercise. When you flip the cards, the number tells you how many of that exercise to do. Below are two of my recent workouts. The first is cardio/legs.  You can see I assigned jumping jacks to hearts.  When I flipped the card and it showed the two of hearts I did two jumping jacks.  FYI I use: Jacks = 11, Queens = 12, Kings = 13, Aces = 14

You can go straight through the deck with no rest.   However, when I Googled card deck workout I found a few examples where people assign, for example, Aces as a rest period (20 to 30 seconds).  That depends on you and your fitness level.  Have extra energy?  Go through the deck a second time either with the same exercises or switch it up.  Sometimes I do the first deck as strength exercises and the second time all cardio.

A short list of exercises to get you started:

  • jumping jacks
  • squats
  • lunges
  • abs
  • chair dip
  • push up
  • jog in place

Have weights? Add bicep curls or back exercises.  No weights?  Canned foods work to add a little resistance.

It’s fun, fast moving and gets your heart rate up without leaving home or spending a dime.  You can get through a deck in 20 to 30 minutes, which means before you know it you’re done.

Other low-cost options.

Below are some of my favorite time and cost effective workout options:

Take a walk/jog/bike ride

Exercise TV – everything from yoga to weights to boot camp.

Wii – I just got Wii Fit and the Michael Jackson Experience for Christmas.  Have a Wii (or other game system) at home? Check out some of these movement based “games” to have fun and stay fit.

Adult Education/Recreation programs. Where I live these are abundant.  Do a search in your area and you might be pleasantly surprised. Low cost fitness without the membership.

Staying fit and healthy doesn’t have to break the bank – financially or your time – do a little research, talk to people or simply take a walk.  Your health is important.  Instead of excuses, find an activity that you can feel good about.

How about you?  What’s your favorite workout? Low cost or otherwise?

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