While we might admire the toned, beautiful bodies of the celebs in the glossy magazines, fitness isn't just for the rich and famous. Here are some easy, fun ways to get fit and firm, without spending a penny.
Get into step
Getting fit doesn't require you to wear the finest athletic gear while trudging away on an expensive treadmill. All it takes is putting one foot in front of the other.
A brisk walk to the park or the shops is a cost-effective way to get in shape and walking in the open air helps to improve your body's ability to balance and stabilize itself.
Plus, on a beautiful day, wouldn't you rather be out in the fresh air anyway?
Walk the dog
Why pay a trainer to keep you company when man`s best friend is willing to do it for free? Your dog will be delighted to go for a walk or a jog and will never complain or make excuses.
As an added bonus, a dog, especially larger breeds, can provide security if you're out on your own at night.
Take a hike
Don't get swept up into all those confusing (and expensive) cardio cross-training classes. Trail walking is a great way to vary the intensity of your cardio routine. The variation in terrain not only changes the cardiovascular workout but also the muscles used, which can offer a more thorough lower-body workout.
See the city
Walking up and down hills (in the city as well as in the country) is a great way to give your heart and lungs, not to mention the muscles in your legs and bottom, a really good, variable-intensity workout.
Remember to keep your head held high and don't let your bottom stick out. Keep your tummy tight and your bottom tucked in and you'll not only work your stomach muscles but protect your back, too.
Ride into the sunset
Remember how much you loved your bike when you were a child? It was a great way of getting around town and it still is - no gas, no parking worries – plus biking is an easy way to earn FitPoints.
But you don't need a glitzy mountain bike, look in your local paper for a second-hand bike, pump air into the tires, oil the chain and you're off! (Drop it off at the bike store for service if you're at all concerned; it won't cost much.)
You'll save yourself a fortune in travel costs and, if you stick to cycle lanes and off-road paths and (while wearing a helmet!), you'll be perfectly safe.
Hiring a personal trainer can be a great way to get fit. They don't listen to excuses, they'll encourage and motivate you and they'll make sure you don't hurt or overstrain yourself.
Unfortunately, you pay a high price for this one-on-one attention. So why not spread the cost and share a trainer with a group of friends?
The rewards and the results are just the same.
Weight a second
If you don't want to shell out the cash for a set of weights, there are other ways to firm those muscles.
Gallon containers of water weigh about eight pounds, the half-gallon only four. Jars and cans weigh a bit less and can be very effective for working the smaller muscles of the arms, shoulders, back and chest.
You make me feel like dancing
Why pay for expensive dance classes when you can dance the night away with friends? It's fun, it's social and it's a great fat-burning activity.