A health-motivated goal to lose weight, get active, or simply improve your general well-being might top your resolution list for 2013.
However, it can be challenging to achieve these resolutions within a budget.
Don’t give up on your resolution just yet: Check out this list of free and inexpensive activities and ideas to stay motivated and on track:
Join a walking or running group
Walking and running are excellent exercises to get moving and increase your heart rate. And it is affordable: All you need is a pair of shoes! It’s easier to stay motivated when walking or running with a group, and it can still be budget-friendly.
Free: Meetup.com helps people with shared interests plan offline group meetings all over the world. Some meetup groups are hyperlocal, so it is even possible to find one that meets in your neighborhood.
Almost free: Join an organized club and enjoy benefits like coaching, training programs, group runs, and post-run refreshments. These clubs often charge a monthly or annual fee. Comfortable with fund-raising? Consider joining Team in Training, a program with chapters throughout the country that trains walkers and runners for races while raising money for cancer research. Visit Active.com to find other local running and walking groups with a charity focus.
Instead of hiring a pricey personal trainer to give you one-on-one instruction, "rent" an instructor for your home entertainment system! A television and workout DVD are the only equipment you need for a personalized and effective workout. Plus, you don't have to worry about how silly you'll look in a pose or about jumping around your living room because no one will be there to see.
Free: Got a library card? Visit the library to see which exercise DVDs are available. If you're dissatisfied with the selection, let the staff know. Most public libraries can access the materials from libraries in neighboring communities, so it is possible to access the DVD selection of another library in the network.
Almost free: For $7.99 a month (or $9.99 for Blu-Ray), register for Netflix. Rent from their wide selection of fitness DVDs, receive it by mail, and drop it in the pre-paid postage envelope when finished. KineticFlix is a similar subscription service that offers only fitness DVDs for $12.99 a month. Neither of these services charge late fees, but you cannot rent a new DVD until you return the current one. But it’s easy to keep a fitness routine fresh by using a constant rotation of new workouts!
Download health and fitness apps
Turn your smartphone into a personal motivator. Both iPhone and Android phones offer a range of free and inexpensive health and fitness apps. Use an app to count calories, find new workouts and exercises, receive healthy tips and reminders, and listen to upbeat and workout-friendly music.
Free: My Fitness Pal is a free calorie counter, diet, and exercise journal accessible via website and app. For challenging at-home workouts for any fitness level, check out the Nike Training Club app. Or download an app to get a free Health Tip of the Day and check out FIT Radio for high-energy music to motivate your workout.
Almost free: P90X is a 90-day boot camp-style workout program. The full DVD set is expensive, but the same workouts and fitness tips are accessible through the P90X app. It is normally $4.99, but it is currently available for just $0.99.
Attend yoga classes
Yoga helps improve flexibility and focus and reduces stress. It's also an expensive hobby. Prices range from $15 to $20 for a single class at a traditional yoga studio. Of course, all you need to practice yoga at home is a yoga mat, but it's not recommended that beginners practice without some sort of instruction. Even the simplest yoga poses can cause injury if not performed correctly.
Free: Many yoga studios offer training for yogis who want to earn a teaching certification. Part of the training process includes many hours of observation and practice teaching. To give these teachers-in-training the opportunity to earn enough hours for their certification, yoga studios frequently offer free community classes open to all skill levels.
Almost free: For $18 a month, YogaGlo offers unlimited access to over 1,000 streaming yoga classes. Take the classes through your computer or TV, and browse by teacher, style, level and length.
Subscribe to a health magazine, podcast, or newsletter
Sometimes a little reminder in your mailbox, MP3 player, or inbox is just the push you need to put down the Ben & Jerry's and pick up a dumbbell. Get inspired to make small changes to make 2013 your healthiest year yet.
Free: Women's Health, Shape, and Prevention all offer free newsletters that cover fitness, nutrition, and health advice. Or try the free Nutrition Diva podcast. Registered nurse Monica Reinagel serves up short, punchy podcasts that bust nutrition myths and offer tips to upgrade your eating habits.
Almost free: KCL regularly posts deals on top fitness and health magazines (just watch the site daily for updates). In addition, KCL readers always get an extra 20% off at discountmags.com by using the code KRAZY at checkout.