Get Fit on a Budget

Get Fit by Working Out on a Budget

Being a mom can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s not always the easiest job. Sometimes you are so focused on running to your child’s next soccer game or trying to ensure everyone is eating a healthy dinner that you forget to take care of yourself.

With gym memberships being expensive, there are ways you can repurpose every day household items into weights and benches, and transform your home into a gym for a fraction of the cost.

Here are four household items you can use in place of expensive exercise equipment:

  • Milk Jugs: One gallon-sized jug of milk weighs about 8.5 pounds, which is a good amount of weight to use when working out your arms. Try doing two or three reps of 10 bicep curls with each hand.
  • Chairs: You can get a great workout with chairs. To tone your arms, try tricep dips by standing in front of a chair with your back to it. Slowly lower yourself in a downward motion until your legs are at a 90 degree angle, and place arms behind you, gripping the edge of the chair’s seat with your hands. With controlled movements, raise your lower body to form a 90 degree angle with your arms. Try to do three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
  • Broom: Want to slim down your waist line? Try waist twists, which can be good for slimming down your waist. While seated, hold the broom behind your shoulders and twist to the right and back to the center. Do this again, but this time twist to the left. Make sure you are using slow and controlled movements to ensure you do not pull any muscles.
  • Towels: Don’t throw the towel in during your workout. Instead, use the towel to strengthen your shoulders. Stand up and straighten your arms over your head, while holding an end of the towel in each hand about 18 inches apart. Keeping your hands over your head, pull with each hand as hard as you can, creating resistance. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat. Try to go longer if you can!

With these exercises, you can save time and money, all while getting a great workout in the luxury of your own home. As a reminder, always stretch before and after your workout to prevent any muscle or joint strains and remember, just have FUN!

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Two Women Running

Spring Into Action!

With colder weather and rainy days, winter can turn the best of us into couch potatoes. Which is why it’s good not to just give your home, but also your body, a good spring cleaning. 

There is, however, a right and a wrong way to do this. Don’t just dive in head first—your body has settled into a more sedentary lifestyle so it’s important to take it slow and work up to a healthy weekly exercise schedule. 

Pre-Check All Systems

Spring is also a great time of the year to make your annual physical appointment. You’ll be able to get things like your blood pressure and cholesterol checked out to make sure you’re ready for take off. It will also give you a chance to talk to your PCP about any questions or concerns you might have, and what he or she thinks is the best way for you to get back into a physical routine.

Be Equipped

Check the soles and overall condition of your athletic shoes. Worn out shoes can lead to injury, so be sure to replace them on average about once a year, more often if you clock in extra mileage.

Fuel Up

You can’t drive your car without gas and the same applies to your body. This means avoiding processed foods and eating plenty of healthy proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables. Staying hydrated is also really important—the more you sweat the more water you need to drink, about four to six ounces of water for every 15 minutes of exercise.

Walk Before You Run

Take it slow and start off with a brisk walk 10 minutes a day, at least three to four times a week. Once that feels comfortable, increase by five-minute intervals weekly until you’re up to about 30 to 40 minutes. A month of conditioning will build up flexibility and endurance, which is necessary before moving on to more strenuous activities.

Stretch It Out

It’s just as important to cool down as it is to warm up. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles and can help prevent post-workout soreness. Once your heart rate has slowed down after cooling off, you’ll want to stretch the muscles you just used. Hold every stretch for at least 30 to 60 seconds, two to three times. For intense stretches go no longer than 15 seconds. If you did overdo it, practice RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Stick to a Plan

Set realistic daily and weekly goals for how long and how often you’d like to be active. It’ll make it harder for you to give up if you get a family member or friend on board, too. Remember, just the fact that you’re making an effort to get moving a few times a week is great.

AltaMed Doctor taking patients blood pressure.

Take Care with Your Health Care

We’ve all heard the saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” and the same sentiment can be applied to your health plan. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), an additional estimated 20 million Americans now have health coverage. It’s up to you to make sure you take advantage of everything your insurance has to offer. 

Beyond taking a closer look at the details of your specific plan, here are a few easy and basic ways to make the most of the benefits included in your health coverage. 

  • Wellness Visit: These provide an overall picture of your health and how you can make improvements by checking stats like blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI) and weight.
  • Preventive Services: Keeping you healthy is just as important to your provider as it is to you. So be sure to use any and all free services they offer, which can include immunizations, colonoscopies, diabetes checks, contraceptives, osteoporosis and anemia screenings, prenatal care and mammograms, just to name a few.
  • Education: Many plans include classes on fitness, nutrition, overall healthy living and chronic disease management. 
  • Annual Physical: Preventive exams are key to catching any serious health issues like cancer and diabetes early, before they start, or early enough to be properly treated. It’s also a great time to talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have, and to get important shots and vaccinations. 
  • Discounts: You’d be surprised what kind of health and wellness products and services may be available through your insurance. Think discounts on gym memberships, eye exams, and chiropractic or acupuncture visits, as well as programs and support groups to help quit smoking. 
  • Nurse Advice Line: Typically available 24/7, you can save yourself and your family a trip to the emergency room or urgent care by calling these helplines , which have registered nurses on hand to answer your questions and point you in the right direction. 
  • Prescriptions: Not only is medication more affordable if your doctor prescribes you the generic version, but if your plan has a mail service pharmacy option, you’ll be able to save a trip to the pharmacy. 

Get Fit by Working Out on a Budget