Frugal Fitness for the Holidays

I don’t know about you but the holiday season always seems to remind me how much I really need to get in shape. All of the food and drink over Thanksgiving and Christmas can really put our bodies over the edge. Instead of waiting until January, why don’t you jump start your fitness routine with these frugal fitness ideas? Don’t let the barrier of expense hold you back!

  • Everyday Fitness: Don’t underestimate the value of everyday opportunities to create a fit lifestyle. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Burn calories cleaning your apartment/house, babysitting, going shopping or garage-saling. Don’t judge those mall walkers, they are getting a good workout!
  • Online Workout Videos: One of the cheapest ways to get fit is to use free online workout videos.Sparkpeople has a variety of videos, some require equipment but there are some that don’t. You can find other free workout routines by searching for videos on youtube or for free podcasts on Itunes. If you have “on demand” TV such as xfinity you may be able to find some free workout videos there as well.
  • Workout DVDs: You can also use workout videos and DVDs. If you don’t have any check your parent’s house for those old 80s workout videos or check out the selection at your local library. Why not gather a group of friends to workout to Buns of Steel a few times a week? You will have plenty of laughs and get a good workout while you’re at it!
  • Get Outside: Use the great outdoors as your fitness center. Get out for a refreshing walk around your neighborhood, run around a park/lake, go out for a hike, or bike on one of the trails. If you live in a colder climate, like me, you might also try snowshoeing or skiing.
  • Dancing: Dancing can be a really great work out as well as fantastic way to have fun with friends. Get down with salsa, swing or whatever you like. Or, try Zumba: a latin-inspired form of exercise that is a combination of dance and aerobics put to the beat of lively, fun music. Many community centers, fitness clubs, and even churches are offering this with varied pricing. Search here to find classes near you. Don’t want to go out? You can always play DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) or Just Dance for a great dance workout at home.
  • Community Classes: Get off campus, meet some new people and get fit by getting involved in some community fitness classes at your local community recreational center. Community centers offer a variety of classes and equiment. You might also check and see if your school offers any fitness classes. If you live in St. Paul, check out some of the offerings in Roseville.
  • Fitness Centers: As you know, fitness memberships can be very expensive. First check to see if your school has fitness equipment available for free or a small fee. If not, see if your school has deals with area fitness centers or if some of your local fitness centers have student pricing.
  • Community Sports/Broomball: Another way to get fit and meet some new people is to join a recreational sports team. One of winter’s most fun ice sports is broomball. A recreational winter sport that is similar to hockey. See if their are any recreational leagues near you, like this on in St. Paul.
  • Do It Together: So often socializing during the holidays involves parties with an abundance of food and drink. Find a few friends who are also interested in staying fit and socialize while you workout. Go for a walk/run, join a class together or just head to the gym together. Looking for something more adventurous? Try out the aerobic fitness classes at Sky Zone indoor trampoline parks or go to an indoor rock climbing gym.

Join the Conversation: What is your tip for staying fit on a budget?

Frugal Fitness Challenge: Creative and Fun Ways to Workout

This is our final week of the Frugal Fitness Challenge. We have looked at frugal fitness options, nutrition, and grocery shopping. This week I am investigating some outside of the box forms of exercise to help you break out of your workout rut even in the dead of winter.

Are you looking to put a little pizzazz into your workout? Are you getting bored running, walking, or lifting weights? Looking for something a little more exciting especially with winter on its way? Here are a few creative and fun ways to workout throughout the fall and winter:

  • Rake and Jump in Leaves: Act like a kid! Rake up a big pile of leaves and jump in them. This is even more fun if you get a few friends together. Don’t have a yard of your own? Why not rake a neighbor or friend’s yard for them, you can have a little fun, get a great workout and do something kind.
  • Nordic Walking: This is a great way to put a little pep in your step during any season. This way of walking with special poles burns 40% more calories than regular walking and engages the upper body and core. Here is an instructional video on Nordic Walking. Many cities have nordic walking groups, including the twin cities. Some groups even provide the poles!
  • Zumba: A latin-inspired form of exercise that is a combination of dance and aerobics put to the beat of lively, fun music. Many community centers, fitness clubs, and even churches are offering this with varied pricing. Search here to find classes near you.
  • Dancing: Dancing can be a really great work out as well as fantastic way to have fun with friends and meet people. Many cities have salsa and swing dancing classes and clubs. If you are little shy about your dancing skills, you can always play DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) for a great dance workout at home.
  • Jump: Did you really enjoy jumping on trampolines as a kid? Well, your fun doesn’t have to stop with adulthood. Jumping on trampolines can be a great workout! There are even some indoor trampoline parks, like Sky Zone, that offer aerobic fitness classes.
  • Old 80s Fitness Videos: One of my favorite, fun ways to get fit is to unearth some of those 80s and 90s fitness videos out of your parent’s basement or local library. You will not only get a great workout, but also a good laugh!
  • Broomball: One of winter’s most fun ice sports is broomball. A recreational winter sport that is similar to hockey. See if their are any recreational leagues near you, like this on in St. Paul.
  • Hula Hooping: Bring out that old hula hoop from your parent’s garage and get a great core workout this winter. This a great cardio exercise to do inside or outside.
  • Climbing Wall: Did you love climbing trees when you were a kid? Why not get your workout climbing a rock wall this winter? Here is a guide to the climbing walls and caves in the twin cities.

For more great ideas, check out this article on fun ways to workout. What are you favorite fun and creative ways to workout in the fall and winter?

Everyday Frugality: Frugal Fitness for All Seasons

How can you create a more frugal lifestyle? This week I am beginning a series on everyday frugality, looking at the everyday tasks that make up a frugal lifestyle. I will be investigating housing, transportation, eating, shopping, and many other lifestyle aspects. I am kicking off the series with a piece on fitness.

We all know that exercise is important, but exercise can also be very expensive. How can you stay fit on a graduate student’s budget? Here are some ideas!

  • Everyday Fitness: Don’t underestimate the value of everyday opportunities to create a fit lifestyle. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Burn calories cleaning your apartment/house, babysitting, going shopping or garage saling. Don’t judge those mall walkers, they are getting a good workout!
  • Online Workout Videos: One of the cheapest ways to get fit is to use free online workout videos. Sparkpeople has a variety of videos, some require equipment but there are some that don’t. You can use their fitness generator to find the right video for you. Also check out this other selection of free workout videos. You can find other free workout routines by searching for videos on youtube or for free podcasts on Itunes.
  • Workout DVDs: You can also use workout videos and DVDs. If you don’t have any check your parent’s house for those old 80s workout videos or check out the selection at your local library. Why not gather a group of friends to workout to Buns of Steel a few times a week? You will have plenty of laughs and get a good workout while you’re at it!
  • Get Outside: Use the great outdoors as your fitness center. Get out for a refreshing walk around your neighborhood, run around a park/lake, go out for a hike, bike on one of the trails or go for a swim.
  • Dancing: Dancing can be a really great work out as well as fantastic way to have fun with friends and meet people. Whether you are interested in salsa, swing, or any other kind of dancing, the Twin Cities offers some great opportunities. Check out Tapestry Folkdance Center for a variety of different dance events.
  • Community Classes: Get off campus, meet some new people and get fit by getting involved in some community fitness classes at your local community recreational center. If you live in St. Paul, check out some of the offerings in Roseville.
  • Fitness Centers: As you know, fitness memberships can be very expensive. First check to see if your school has fitness equipment available for free or a small fee. If not, see if your school has deals with area fitness centers or if some of your local fitness centers have student pricing.
  • Fitness Equipment: If you decide to purchase your own fitness equipment, you can often get good quality used equipment from garage sales or from craigslist. If you are really tight on cash, you can turn some of your housewares into fitness equipment.

Join the Conversation: Almost all of the above links are geared towards residents of the Twin Cities. If you aren’t a resident I invite you to find some cool opportunities of your own and share them in the comments section. If you are a Twin Cities resident, what other opportunities have you found?

Student Blitz: Great Discounts for Twin Cities Students

Exploring the city can be expensive, but your student ID can make your adventures in the city a whole lot easier on your wallet. Here is a selection of some of the discounts that you can get as a student in the Twin Cities. Whether you are looking to check out a museum, the orchestra, the movies, new restaurants, even the gym, there are a variety of student discounts just for you!

  • Museums: On Thursday nights the Science Museum offers discount admission to students. Similarly, the Minnesota History Center offers students $9 admission with a valid student ID anytime.
  • Live Entertainment: The Twin Cities also offers a rich variety of live entertainment. The Minnesota Orchestra features $12 advance student rush tickets and $15 box office rush tickets on selected performances. The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) hosts Club2030, a club of people ages 18-39 years old who get $10 best available seats to SPCO Concerts at the Ordway in St. Paul and Ted Mann in Minneapolis. The Shout House, featuring rock ‘n’ roll dueling pianos, offers College ID Night on Fridays, students can get in with no cover.
  • Movies: There are many discount movie theatres in the Twin Cities including: Brookdale 8, Maple Grove Cinema 10, Hopkins Cinema 6, and the Riverview Theater.  Also, the St. Anthony Main Theatre offers $6 tickets with student ID.
  • Restaurants: The Loring Pasta Bar offers students 25% off with a valid ID, anytime except Friday and Saturday.
  • Shopping: If you are shopping be sure to check out J-Crew for a 15% discount and Picky Girl for a 10% discount on Tuesdays.
  • Travel: If you are traveling, check out Student Universe for great deals on flights, hotels and more.
  • Fitness: If you are looking for a gym membership with a small price tag check out the YWCA student discount membership.

For more discounts check out yelp. What other student discounts have you found in the Twin Cities?