Prior to my downsizing journey, I read a lot of fitness and health magazines. Most of the magazines and books advocated buying more stuff, joining an expensive gym or promoted diets that were not healthy. I walked away from those magazines feeling depressed and overwhelmed.
Discovering the simple living movement helped me reconnect to my body and start taking small steps toward my fitness goals. Unplugging my television and selling my car gave me the time to meet my goals. Within the last few years, I started swimming with a master’s team again, ran a marathon and developed many long lasting friendships.
I can’t offer one solution to fit all; but here are a few simple fitness tips and activities that have helped me get in shape without buying new stuff.
1. Pick an activity you enjoy.
Getting fit means you have to move your body. So it’s essential to pick an activity you enjoy. It could be running, walking or yoga, but you need to like it. If you don’t like the activity, odds are you won’t follow through.
Running, walking, riding a bike and yoga are all low cost activities. You probably already have a pair of walking/running shoes, a bike and maybe a yoga mat at home. If not, start checking out local shops for sales.
Micro-action: Brainstorm 4-5 activities that you love. What gives you joy?
2. Move your body.
Move your body as much as possible. This can be hard in the modern world, especially if you have a desk job. I sit in front of a computer all day, but I do sometime of physical activity before arriving at the office and either walk or ride my bike to work.
If you don’t have a lot of free time, I’d encourage you to move closer to your place of employment. Moving closer to work and walking or biking to the office are great ways to get moving and don’t cost a lot of money.
Micro-action: Find 30 minutes in your day and get active.
3. Eat fresh and real food.
Eating good, real food has become part of my simple fitness plan.
Last year, I read In Defense of Food and changed my diet dramatically. Rather than eating packaged foods, most of my produce comes from the local farmer’s market. Eating real food has increased my energy level and is actually a lot less expensive.
If you have a local farmer’s market in your city, take advantage of it. I used to think that fast food was quick and easy. But I’ve changed my perspective. Cooking food at home saves time, money and it really is healthier and simpler.
Micro-action: Does your city have a farmer’s market? If you don’t know, find out and take a trip to the market.
4. Make time.
Make time in your life for physical exercise. Everyone has at least 30 minutes a day to participate in some-type of physical activity. If you don’t have the time, consider reorganizing your priorities.
Other options include unplugging the television or selling your car. I did both and finally moved off the couch and went outside.
Micro-action: Schedule a physical activity everyday.
5. Be patient.
Reaching any type of fitness goal takes time, so be patient. Getting in shape won’t happen over night. For instance, I just started doing yoga and realized how weak my core is! I have a lot of work to do when it comes to strength training and I know it will take time.
Starting out is the easy point, but sticking with your fitness goals is the hard part.
Micro-action: Connect to a support network or find a workout buddy to keep you focused.
Above all, do what you love and brings you joy. Your body will thank you.