Community Health: Cheap fitness Q&A

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Q: I want to get fit this summer, but I don’t want to blow my vacation budget on it. What can I do? –Janet, Mauldin

There are plenty of ways to get fit on the cheap, but Mike Worley, an exercise physiologist with Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, says your first step should be visiting your doctor. “See a primary-care physician to address any contraindications to activity,” he said. He also suggests seeing a trainer if you’re getting started on an activity for the first time.

After that, free and cheap options abound. Worley, who recommends four to five days of exercise per week for about 30 minutes, says walking or jogging are great options. “Go hiking, go to the Swamp Rabbit Trail, or a lot of neighborhoods in the area almost have a resort feel,” he said.

To boost strength as well as cardiovascular fitness, he recommends body-weight exercises such as push-ups, crunches, and squats.

For a very low-cost option, he suggests apps or websites like 7 Minute Workout or Fitness Blender. Some workouts are free, with more-extensive options costing just a few dollars per year, he said. People can then add basic tools like tubing, dumbbells, or medicine balls to use along with the apps.

If the heat makes getting outdoors a challenge, Worley recommends spending a small amount on a Jazzercise or dance video, which you can do in the comfort of home. For a slightly larger outlay, you can join a gym on a month-to-month basis just for the summer.

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