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Exercise Essentials


I seem to talk about a lot of exercise on It All Changes…races, boot camp, Zumba, swimming, hiking and my fitness bucket list.  I had a friend ask recently…

What do I need to start?  I don’t have a lot of money and don’t want to waste it on things I’ll hate.

My answer…Shoes.

gym 011

Plain and simple.  All you need to start adding extra activity is a pair of athletic shoes.  No fancy equipment, specialty clothing or even a gym membership.  I bought my first pair at Payless and walked around my neighborhood for half an hour each night.

Don’t worry if you can only walk a block.  Just do it.  That’s a block more than sitting on the couch.  Over time you’ll get better and the spring is a perfect time to start.  Enjoy the trees in bloom, the tweeting birds, and the sun that is hangs around after dinner.


Once you decide to stick with any kind of fitness there are a few more ways to invest.  Warning…go slow and enjoy them without depleting your bank account.

  • Workout clothes. TJ Maxx, Marshalls or the sale racks at Target and sporting goods stores are perfect to pick up a decent workout wardrobe.  tank A few sports bras, pants, sweat wicking shirts and non-cotton socks – to avoid the dreaded blisters – are worth the money if you enjoy what you are doing.
  • Pedometer. If walking is your primary source of activity a pedometer is a great tool to measure step counts.  Heck just getting  a few extra steps in at work by taking the stairs or delivering messages to co-workers instead of sending an email all add up.
  • Hand Weights. Momma and Richard worked out using soup cans but caution!!! they are easy to drop and hurt like a son of a gun.  TJ Maxx once again is a great place to pick up a set of hand weights.  General 3 or 5 pound weights will help with basic at home strength moves. hand weights A super buy I’m still craving is the body bar for bench press style exercises.
  • Resistance Bands.  For traveling or home workouts these pieces of rubber tubing go a long way.  My physical therapist encouraged me to buy some after my last round of PT.  resistanceThe make home strength training simple and I have no excuse for overweight bags when flying…except a few more pairs of shoes. Smile
  • Yoga Mat. After all the fitness you’re enjoying a good stretch is worth it.  For basic yoga or even yoga downloads any mat will do.  Stretch, relax and catch some zzzz’s in savasanna. gym today 015
  • Heart Rate Monitor. If you’ve hit a stride with exercise and want to be sure you’re hitting your target heart rate zone, this is tool for you.  running geek 003I bought mine on discount from Amazon.  Polar is my brand of choice for their customer service and ability to store data and easy upgrades for 20% in exchange for the old watch.

Don’t get overwhelmed at this list.  Go back to the top…what did it say?  Shoes. Lace up some shoes and enjoy a nice spring walk.  It will lead to a better you.

How did you start with fitness?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. 25/03/2011 9:29 AM

    I LOVE this post! Cost is a concern for so many people when thinking about exercise, but it can be as inexpensive or as costly as you choose.

    My first fitness purchase was the original P90X DVD. I used water bottles as weights until my parents got me 5lb pounders for my birthday that year.

    • 25/03/2011 10:05 AM

      I know. My first big purchase was real running shoes. I’d never spend over $100 on shoes in my life. I think I choked when I gave them the cash.

  2. 25/03/2011 3:28 PM

    i get ALL of my workout clothes at tjmaxx, marshalls, & target! you do NOT need fancy clothes to workout! i actually also go my current running shoes at tjmaxx – they’re the same kind i was told to buy at a running store, so i was pumped to find the exact same pair extremely discounted! 🙂

    • 25/03/2011 8:01 PM

      Shoes and sports bras I will spend more on because of injuries. Everything else is up for a discount.

  3. 25/03/2011 7:45 PM

    With so much fitness gear and gadetry out there, this is a good reminder that you don’t have to spend a lot to make this investment in yourself.

    I don’t even think I started with *good* shoes, but now that I run longer distances, those are essential. I also shop at Target for workout clothes.

    I started exercising with exercise videos, but if you have ExerciseTV or something similar on cable, you don’t even need those. And, some libraries have a decent collection of fitness videos/DVDs.

    I got my free weights at WalMart or Sports Authority, starting with a 5 lb set and adding more as I got stronger. I followed weight routines from Self magazine – they have them on line in “slide shows” too.

    • 25/03/2011 8:00 PM

      Those are all great ideas! Remembering that healthy doesn’t need to equal expensive is so important.


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