February is American Heart Month, and we’d love to help you find ways to improve your heart health without jeopardizing your financial fitness.
A gym membership can be a great way to keep active and do heart-healthy exercise, but we know from over 40 years of financial counseling that gym memberships can be a painful subscription to pay for.
Here are some less expensive alternatives to gym memberships in honor of American Heart Month:
- Go for regular walks. You can set up a walking club; check with your local community center or see if your neighborhood is on Nextdoor.com. You can use these resources to get together with neighbors to walk together—try to motivate each other to increase your heart rate!
- Visit your local YMCA. You may have a YMCA or rec center that will offer swimming, workout rooms, and more. These memberships are far less than joining a gym.
- Public parks might offer a place to exercise for free. Your public park may have basketball or tennis courts—if those are sports you can get into, take advantage of the free venue!
- Try public classes at the community center. Your local community or rec center might have workout classes at a much lower cost than a commercial gym. Whether it’s aerobics, yoga or step classes, any activity is better than nothing.
- Smartphone apps can guide you for a very low cost. You’ve already paid a lot for a smartphone, why not take advantage of that hardware and download a good workout app?
- Search YouTube for workout videos. Back in the old days, people paid good money for workout tapes to follow and burn some calories. Now there’s a lot of free content just a few clicks away.
Whatever you do, find some activity that can help you get your heart rate up and that won’t get you stuck with an expensive subscription. Develop the habit of being active first, before you start spending more money.
To learn more about American Heart Month, visit the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) online, the American Heart Association, or Million Hearts from the Department of Health and Human Services.