Resolutions: Work Out for Free
Photo by djdau/Flickr
Does anyone else hear the overwhelming sounds of silence? Where once elipticals whirred and treadmills whizzed, now there are only crickets. From Santa Monica to Echo Park, aerobics studios are feeling a chill wind blow. It seems, friends, as though no one can afford their gym membership anymore.
But an empty wallet is no excuse for clogged arteries, and in fact, exercise will get your mind off depressing stuff like that pesky recession. Here are some ways you can keep your resolution to get in shape without breaking the (already broken) bank.
Hill Sprints: Jackie Warner, trainer at Sky Sport and star of the reality show "Workout," suggests getting outdoors: "Find a hilly area and start fast walking for five minutes and then do 20 push-ups. Repeat until you've done a total of 20 minutes of fast walking and 60 push-ups. It's a perfect upper and lower body workout. Or, you can get yourself a great DVD like my 'One on One Training with Jackie.'"
Clean: Two birds, one stone. WebMD suggests busting out the vacuum cleaner while blaring salsa music to get your heart rate up, and also decrease the likelihood of experiencing dust-based allergies.
Functional Workouts: By targeting the right areas from the start and using your own body weight as leverage, you can trigger what personal trainer Eric, star of the new WB series "Eric the Trainer," calls the full body change: "For women, you have to start working her body in the lower pelvic region - above the knee and below chest. The opposite is true for men. If you want the full body change, you have to work upper chest region." Find exercise suggestions here.
Stairs: Remember when we told you about stairs in L.A. last year? Go to them. Walk up them. Then walk down them. Rinse and repeat. For an extra challenge, try changing it up. Walk forwards, backwards, sideways (you can incorporate squats), and sprints.
Pilates: Shana Stark, a classically trained pilates instructor and trainer at Pilates by the Park and Easton Gym, suggests the plank position: "Begin in a plank position, arms straight directly beneath shoulders. Place the heels together and toes apart in a "v" position. Slide the shoulder blades down the back and reach arms long away from the wrists. Pull the abs in and queeze the tush and inner thighs. If wrists are weak, you can have the same effect if lowered on to the forearms. Raise the right leg off the floor. Lower leg and lift the left."
Have Sex: Burning calories while having sex is possible, but it ain't easy. You need to really mean it. It's not completely free, but head over to Freddy and Eddy for some toys that will ensure you're breaking a sweat.
Yoga: I know you believe that the tasteful décor of your yoga studio helps bring about inner peace, but you actually can practice without the presence of flower-shaped candles. Women's Health suggests combining yoga and strength training.
Bike: Mostly I just didn't want to be crucified by the Biking Community for not including this, but as an added bonus, it really is good for you and this place we call "the world." Just don't forget a helmet, and for safety's sake, stop at stop signs.
Trainer Eric tells us that there's no need to work out for hours. Depending on how much you're challenging yourself, 25-45 minutes will do the trick, a minimum of 2-3 days a week.
Finally, licensed psychiatrists (and Dr. Phil, too!) agree that in order to make real change, you have to make a plan. So write down your goals, tattoo them across your forearm -- whatever it takes. Pretty soon you'll be Madonna and your biceps will bulge at the age of fifty and you'll speak with a British accent. Cheerio.