A Wallet-Friendly Approach to Fitness. No Gym Required.

January is a time for setting new goals…and crowded gyms. It happens every year. Resolved to get fit and healthy, new members (or those who have been MIA) fill up group classes and the wait for using the cardio equipment becomes too long for my schedule. So, I’ve learned to be patient because I know that in just one month, most of them will be gone and I can return to my own, stress-free pace. Until then, I hit the outdoors for long walks and do Pilates floor exercises at home. It’s always a fresh reminder that there’s really no excuse for not exercising especially when there are so many fitness resources available on the web to help plan workouts and monitor how we’re doing. Here are just a few examples:

Visit the website of the American Council on Exercise and click on “Get Fit” to view their exercise library and illustrated workouts. You can indicate your target body part, experience level, equipment needed and workout type. This is the website for the organization that certifies fitness trainers, so you’ll find good instructions here. While you there, try out their handy fitness tools and calculators for estimating percent body fat, daily caloric needs, heart rate zone and BMI (Body Mass Index).

For Pilates enthusiasts of all levels, there are plenty of online videos by master instructor Elizabeth Larkam (whom I’ve taken classes with) as well as podcasts that you can download onto your phone or tablet and take with you anywhere. And you’ll find excellent instruction videos on YouTube including this one.

If you enjoy working out with an exercise ball, you’ll find tips and workout ideas in a series of free videos on this website. For core exercises using the fitness ball, watch these slide show demonstrations produced by the Mayo Clinic.

For a more individualized approach, check out Daily Burn, a new “personalized fitness platform” thatReceive HD quality, personalized video workouts on your mobile device delivers HD-quality, daily video workouts that are tailored to fit your unique fitness needs and goals. The videos are streamed to your computer, smart phone or other mobile device such as iPad or Android. There’s a membership fee of $30/month, but if this works for you, it’s considerably less than paying for a personal trainer.  They offer a free, 7-day trial if you want to give it a test run.

Finally, if you want to monitor your progress, check out the Free Fitness Tracker, where you can set fitness goals, track and measure progress and access their workout library of 300 exercises. As a member, you can even upload your own exercises to share with others.

If you’ve discovered other no-cost or low-cost online resources for fitness workouts, please let me (and other readers) know in the comment box below.