affordable exercise en-US Great Ways to Save Money by Volunteering <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/great-ways-to-save-money-by-volunteering" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="volunteer" title="volunteer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve always been the <a target="_blank" href="">volunteering</a> type, especially since I became a mom. I believe strongly in helping others, and I want my daughter to learn that value, too. For the last decade I have been part of a community recreation board, helped with youth sports programs, and served as a Girl Scout leader. Recently, I have taken an interest in helping out at a friend&rsquo;s equine farm. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">Money-Making Lessons From the Girl Scouts</a>)</p> <p>I have found that my volunteering has been personally rewarding, but those efforts have helped me financially, too. No, none of those volunteer positions were paying positions, but they nevertheless helped me save money and boost the bottom line.</p> <h2>Free Admission</h2> <p>I have been able to attend a lot of <a target="_blank" href="">great events</a>, even with my family, at no cost to me. I may have to spend some time behind the concession stand, and I may have to stay later to help clean up. But it has always turned out to be a great time, and we don&rsquo;t have to worry about expenses for a night out. We have also been able to eat free at the events.</p> <h2>No-Cost Extras</h2> <p>Sometimes at the end of the night there are extra things like food that didn&rsquo;t get sold or cannot be used again. In most cases, these items are given away rather than tossed into the trash. Food is not the only thing I have scored at the end of an event. I&rsquo;ve gratefully accepted craft and art supplies, clothing, and other promotional items.</p> <h2>It&rsquo;s All About Who You Know</h2> <p>There are a lot of great people you want to know, especially when you are in a pinch. Plumbers, carpenters, lawyers, and a host of other professionals are all volunteers. I&rsquo;ve met many people who I might not have otherwise become friendly with that have helped me at a lower cost or for no charge at all. As a big fan of the barter system, I have also been successful at helping people with marketing and website content in exchange for getting my lawnmower repaired.</p> <h2>Networking Opportunities</h2> <p>As a freelance writer, <a target="_blank" href="">networking</a> is vital to my work. Since I also dabble in marketing, I have found that local connections give me the opportunity to meet small business owners and organizations that could benefit from my help. I can do this kind of connecting on a casual basis without spending a dime. I am also more likely to get the work because I get to know people on a personal level.</p> <h2>Fun Privileges</h2> <p>There have been many occasions in the past that have allowed me access to places and things I may not have been able to get without my volunteer connections. I&rsquo;ve been able to borrow character costumes for my kid&rsquo;s birthday party, march in parades, and participate in many fun things at no cost. I&rsquo;m currently planning my daughter&rsquo;s birthday party at the horse farm at no cost to me, saving me a few hundred bucks in rental space.</p> <h2>No Gym Fees</h2> <p>Volunteering definitely keeps me moving. Some opportunities provide much more activity than others, but the fact is I am getting out of the house and moving around. As a work-at-home writer, I don&rsquo;t have much occasion to leave the house outside of local errands. With my volunteer work, I have a reason to get out and about. I can&rsquo;t beat the physical activity at my latest opportunity. A few hours of barn work replaces several hundred dollars a year in <a target="_blank" href="">gym membership</a> fees. Not only that, but I love the work I do &mdash; something I cannot say about formal exercise.</p> <p>Certainly you should volunteer your time because you genuinely like to help people and spend your time purposefully. But if you have been considering taking on some volunteer work, you can look at things from your own perspective as well as for those you are directly helping. You never know what awaits you!</p> <p><em>Have your volunteer efforts helped you financially?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Great Ways to Save Money by Volunteering" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tisha Tolar</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle affordable exercise networking volunteering Fri, 12 Apr 2013 09:48:33 +0000 Tisha Tolar 971376 at 20 Great Body Weight Exercises (and Why You Should Do Them) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-great-body-weight-exercises-and-why-you-should-do-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="jumping push up" title="jumping push up" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Maybe you'll never find yourself in a &quot;<a href="" target="_blank">Cliffhanger</a>&quot; kind of moment, but I'd venture to say that being able to lift your own body weight &mdash; whether with your arms, your legs, or your core &mdash; is an important life skill. What better, more basic measure of fitness could there be? The best part of it is that most body weight exercises require little or no equipment of any kind, which means you can practice them anytime, anywhere. That also means most of these exercises come free of charge.</p> <p>Here are 20 great body weight exercises to try &mdash; and some beginner ways to get into them if you aren't quite ready to go full Stalone. Combine a few from each category for a great full-body workout. And if you aren't sure how to do these, click through the links for demos and explanations. (See also: <a href="">15 Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes</a>)</p> <h2>Upper Body</h2> <p>Strengthen your arms, shoulders, chest, and upper back for lifting and pulling (and for looking great in a tanktop).</p> <p><strong>Pull Ups</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Pull ups</a> involve hanging from a bar with an overhand grip and pulling yourself on up. It sounds (and looks) intimidating, but pull ups are one of the best upper-body exercises out there. If you can't do even one pull up now, you may assume you'll never get your head over the bar. Not true. Just about anyone can learn to do pull ups if they're willing to take the time to develop all that strength. <a href="" target="_blank">Ladies</a>, I'm looking at you too.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips:</em> It's easy to get an inexpensive chin-up bar for your door frame at any fitness shop. Or, you can just walk to your local park, nudge a few kids out of the way, and get going. If you can do one (or even just part of) a pull up, you can start there and do a few sets of one. You can also get a <a href="" target="_blank">rubber strap</a> like those used in Crossfit classes. It'll help give you a boost by taking some weight off.</p> <p><strong>Chin Ups</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Chin ups</a> are just like pull ups only you reverse your grip so that your palms are facing toward you, rather than away from you. It's worth doing both pull ups and chin ups because they work different muscles. Many people will find chin ups a little easier because they rely on the biceps, which tend to be stronger.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips: </em>Same as chin ups. You can use the rubber strap here as well if you need to.</p> <p><strong>Triceps Dips</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Dips</a> work the triceps (the back of the upper arms), and while there are fancy dip machines at the gym, they're easy to do on the edge of a kitchen chair, or even your coffee table while you're watching TV. To perform this exercise, sit with your back to the edge of a chair, lift your arms behind you and place your arms on the chair. Then bend and straighten your arms to lift and lower yourself.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips:</em> You can make this easier by bending your knees at a 90-degree angle. As you improve, you can straighten your legs and rest on your heels, or even lift one leg up, increasing the weight on your arms. If you can't go down all the way, do what you can and <a href="" target="_blank">work to improve</a>.</p> <p><strong>Push Ups</strong></p> <p>You're probably familiar with <a href="" target="_blank">push ups</a> from gym class. They're a great way to work your triceps and chest, as well as your core (after all, you're holding it all up!).</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips:</em> If you can't do a full push up with your legs extended, start with your <a href="" target="_blank">knees on the ground</a>. Need to start even easier? Bend your knees to a 90-degree angle (a table-top position), then bend and straighten you arms from there.</p> <p><strong>Medicine Ball Push Ups</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Medicine ball push ups</a> work the triceps a little more than regular push ups and require more core stability, which makes them more difficult, but definitely worthwhile if you're looking for a challenge (and toned arms). You don't need a medicine ball to do these; your kid's soccer ball, volleyball, or even basketball will do just fine. To do this type of push up, get into a push up position and place your hands on the ball with your thumbs touching. Then, start pushing.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips: </em>As with push ups, you can start this one on your knees as well.</p> <p><strong>Arm Circles</strong></p> <p>Here's another one you probably remember from gym class. Stand with your arms extended out to your sides and then rotate them slowly in a counter-clockwise direction. When you're feeling the burn, change directions and do the same number of rotations on the other side.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips: </em>This one's pretty accessible for everyone. If you find it too easy, make the sets in each direction longer, or hold a weight (or water bottle) in each hand while you do it.</p> <h2>Lower Body</h2> <p>Thighs, calves, and backside all get a workout here.</p> <p><strong>Walking Lunges</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Lunges</a> provide a great leg workout, and you can do them anywhere. To perform this exercise, take a step forward with your right foot and bend it to 90 degrees so that the left knee is close to or touching the floor. Straighten and then step forward with your left leg. Take several steps on each leg, building up the number of lunges you do on each leg as you get stronger.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips:</em> Most people will be able to do some approximation of this exercise, although you may not be able to bend your front knee to 90 degrees until you get stronger. Just do what you can. If you have poor balance, you may want to do this beside a wall or have a friend close by &mdash; it can be tippy!</p> <p><strong>Calf Raises</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Calf raises</a> are as simple as it gets. To work the calves, just hold on to the back of a chair or counter, then stand up your tip-toes. Lower and repeat.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips: </em>This exercise is very accessible for beginners, but if you want to make it harder, do one leg at a time, or add a barbell, as shown in the link.</p> <p><strong>Wall Sit</strong></p> <p>Because a <a href="" target="_blank">wall sit</a> is a static exercise, it can be torture, but you can make a lot of progress in a short time by fitting this exercise in to your day somewhere.</p> <p>To do this, stand a couple of feet from a wall and lean back to allow your back to touch. Then, bend your knees, allowing your back to slide down the wall, until you're &quot;sitting&quot; with your back to wall with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Start by holding it for 10-30 seconds and build up from there. If you have a medicine ball, it will make getting into and holding this position easier and more comfortable.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips:</em> If you're just starting out, you can hold this for a shorter amount of time, or bend your knees at less than a 90-degree angle and work toward bending them more over time.</p> <p><strong>Pistol Squats</strong></p> <p>This exercise sounds like serious business &mdash; and it is. It's a more difficult exercise, so if you can't do lunges or a wall sit, you probably aren't ready for this one (yet!). To do a pistol squat, stand holding your arms straight out in front of you, raise one leg, flexing your foot back, and then lower your body while keeping one leg lifted and extended in front of you. Lift back up and repeat. You can see this exercise in action <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips: </em>This exercise isn't for true beginners, but if you think you're ready to give it a try, you can use a ballet bar, banister, or counter for support and balance. Working on the flexibility of your calves and Achilles tendon will also make this exercise easier to manage.</p> <p><strong>Step Up</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Step ups</a> can be done on stairs, a wooden box, or an aerobics step-up bench. Just make sure that whatever you use is solid and stable. Then, step up on to it with one leg until that leg is straight, lower, and repeat on the other leg.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips: </em>If the step is lower, it will be easier. To make the exercise harder, increase the height of the step, or hold a dumbbell in each hand.</p> <h2>Core</h2> <p>Core exercises involve much more than just sit ups these days.</p> <p><strong>Plank</strong></p> <p>No, I'm not talking about <a href="" target="_blank">planking</a> &mdash; these <a href="" target="_blank">planks</a> take a lot more effort.</p> <p>To do a plank, get into a push up position, then bend your arms so that your forearms (rather than your hands) are resting on the ground. Use your stomach muscles to hold yourself up and prevent your back from sagging. This is called a plank because your back should be as strong and straight as one when you're in it.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips: </em>If you can hold this even for a few seconds, that's a start! Do a couple of sets and work your way up from there.</p> <p><strong>Side Plank</strong></p> <p>A <a href="" target="_blank">side plank</a> is similar to a plank, but it works the sides of your abdominals and core, a part of the body that often gets neglected at the gym. To do this exercise, roll to your side and come up on the outside edge of one foot and your elbow. Make sure your hips are lifted off the ground so that you feel your core working. Hold for as long as you can manage!</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips: </em>Just as with plank, if you can hold this for a second or two, don't worry. Start there, do a couple of sets and work your way up to holding for 30 seconds to a minute on each side. You can also try this <a href="" target="_blank">modified version</a>.</p> <p><strong>Shoulder Bridge</strong></p> <p>Your core isn't just your stomach; it includes your back too, and <a href="" target="_blank">shoulder bridge</a> is designed to work just that. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Place your arms down at your sides, then lift your hips and back off the ground. Hold and repeat.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips: </em>This is pretty accessible for beginners, although you may have to work on how long you can hold this, how high you can lift yourself, and how many repetitions you can do.</p> <p><strong>Supermans</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Supermans</a> don't feel like flying, but they'll help you build super-hero strength in your lower back. Lie face down with your legs extended and arms out in front of you. Raise your arms and legs off the ground. You'll look like Superman soaring through the sky, but you'll feel a serious burn in your back.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips:</em> Lack of strength and flexibility can make it hard from some people to get any height here &mdash; or even get their limbs off the ground. That's OK. Make the attempt to lift them and it will come with time. You can also lift your arms and then lower, followed by your legs.</p> <p><strong>Supine Twist</strong></p> <p>This <a href="" target="_blank">supine twist</a> provides a good abdominal workout &mdash; and a nice stretch for your sides and lower back. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent into your chest and your arms extended in a &quot;T&quot; shape. Then, gradually roll your knees over to the right, allowing them to drop as far they'll go on one side (they may or may not touch the ground). Lift back to center and repeat on the other side.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips:</em> This will be difficult for those who have limited flexibility in their backs and chest. If you're struggling to roll your legs over, try making small circles over your body first, and then progress to rolling your knees from side to side over time.</p> <p><strong>V-Sit</strong></p> <p>In <a href="">yoga</a>, this is called <a href="" target="_blank">boat pose</a>, and it is very hard to keep a placid face while holding it. To do this pose, sit on the ground and balance on the space behind your tailbone. Extend your legs out in front you so that your body forms a V shape. Then extend your arms forward at a 90 degree angle from your body.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips:</em> In order to do this properly, you have to be strong enough in your core to keep your back from rounding out behind you. If you can't do this with straight legs, bend your knees until you can. If you still can't do it, try it with one or both feet on the floor first.</p> <h2>Full Body Bonus</h2> <p>Put it all together for a serious aerobic burn.</p> <p><strong>Burpees</strong></p> <p>Burpees sound cute, but they are a killer full body exercise. Start in a low squat position with your hands on the floor, then hop your feet back into push up position. Complete a full push up, then hop your feet back into a squat position and jump into the air as high as you can, landing in a squat position. <a href="" target="_blank">Like this</a>. Repeat.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips: </em>This is a tough exercise, but if you're really struggling, you can skip the push up. And remember, it's fine to start with just one. Everyone starts somewhere.</p> <p><strong>Mountain Climber</strong></p> <p>If you do enough <a href="" target="_blank">mountain climbers</a>, you'll feel like you've climbed a mountain. Start in a push up position and bring one knee forward under your chest. <a href="" target="_blank">Jump and switch legs</a>. Repeat.</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips</em>: The goal here is to smoothly switch legs quite quickly. If you can't, do it more slowly, or step instead of hop.</p> <p><strong>Crab Walk</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Crab walk</a> looks kinda funny, but it's a great workout for your back and a great stretch for your chest and the front of your shoulders. To do this, sit on the floor and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Put your hands on the ground behind you with your hands pointing toward your feet. Straighten your arms to lift your body off the ground, making a table-top of the front of your body. Now, try to walk along like a crab (I said it would look funny).</p> <p><em>Beginner Tips:</em> If you aren't ready to scamper along the length of your living room, just work on lifting yourself up and getting some height. Once you're comfortable with that, you'll be ready to take a few steps.</p> <p>Body weight exercises can be very hard, but they're all the <a href="">tools you need to stay very fit</a>. And they're so simple and inexpensive, it's easy to fit a few in every day. If you can't lift your body weight yet, don't get discouraged. Muscles grow with stimulation and over time. You just have to ask them to.</p> <p><em>Are body weight exercise part of your workout routine?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Great Body Weight Exercises (and Why You Should Do Them)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty affordable exercise body weight exercises losing weight Mon, 25 Feb 2013 10:48:33 +0000 Tara Struyk 967944 at 8 Legit Ways to Use the Gym for Free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-legit-ways-to-use-the-gym-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Gym and gym equipment." title="gym interior" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may love running outside, cycling on a greenway or roadway, or <a target="_blank" href="">practicing yoga on your own</a>, all for free. Still, you might also enjoy and benefit from a workout at a gym, lifting weights or doing resistance exercises using special equipment, taking an <a target="_blank" href="">indoor cycle class</a> with friends, swimming in a full-length pool, or running on the treadmill when it&rsquo;s rainy, windy, or freezing outside.</p> <p>Gym memberships can be expensive and may require year-long commitments. But, in some cases, you can use fitness facilities for free. Some freebies are available to anyone, while others are available to you as part of a package deal minus the long-term obligations. Consider these frugal and respectable ways to get access to a gym. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">Fitness for People Who&nbsp;Hate Exercise</a>)</p> <h3>1. Work Out on Free Days</h3> <p>Privately-owned gyms often have free classes or days when all classes are free and open to the general public. In my area, friends have told me about freebies at their gyms: a women&rsquo;s-only facility hosts a dance-type class on Sundays, and a CrossFit location holds Saturday sessions at no charge.</p> <p>Such offerings provide a way for owners to give back to the community and, at the same time, attract new members.</p> <h3>2. Sign Up for a Triathlon Training or Running Program</h3> <p>Many personal trainers, triathlon coaches, running coaches, and the like partner with local gyms and Ys to get you ready for specific athletic events. These training programs help prepare you for 5Ks and other road races, challenge events like mud runs, and triathlons.</p> <p>The program fee may include a short-term membership at a local gym or Y, even if most of the training is done offsite. For example, I completed a 12-week sprint triathlon program that included a 3-month membership to the YMCA. Participants paid for the training program but got to use the gym at no additional charge.</p> <h3>3. Get a Free Pass</h3> <p>The YMCA, YWCA, and private gyms often give free passes for a few visits or unlimited ones for a month or some designated period.</p> <p>At the local Y, you might be able to snag a pass on your own or get one from a friend who is a member. Privately run and specialty gyms may be more generous with freebies, allowing you to visit several times in a given month as a way of enticing you to join.</p> <h3>4. Participate in Community Programs</h3> <p>Community outreach arms of local organizations occasionally offer free exercise programs or single sessions to area residents as a way of encouraging healthy habits. Sometimes sessions are held at local fitness gyms and studios, giving you the chance to visit the facility, use equipment, and check out specialty classes.</p> <p>Look for a schedule of programs sponsored by area hospitals, health promotion agencies, parks and recreation departments, and even your own employer. You may need to register for a newsletter or health &quot;club&quot; to hear about the activities but generally these are <a target="_blank" href="">free health resources</a>.</p> <h3>5. Ask for a Gym Membership as a Gift or Benefit</h3> <p>Someone has to pay for the membership but in this scenario, using the gym is technically free for you. If you are hoping to avoid getting stuff that will clutter your home, then you may ask for an annual gym membership depending on the gift-giver&rsquo;s budget.</p> <p>Similarly, consider asking your employer for a free gym membership as an employee benefit.</p> <h3>6. Visit the Hotel&rsquo;s Gym</h3> <p>When you are staying at a hotel, use the gym for free (ditto for a resort). The size and quality of these facilities vary, but you should be able to find cardio and weight equipment.</p> <p>If your job requires lots of travel, consider getting free gym workouts when you are on the road and exercising outside when you are home.</p> <h3>7. Enroll in College</h3> <p>The fitness facilities at many colleges and universities are outstanding. As a student, you will likely have access to these gyms for free. They may include studios for group classes, weight training machines, indoor tracks, basketball courts, swimming pools, and climbing walls.</p> <p>Most schools grant access to full-time students only. But if you are thinking about taking a class, ask about part-time student benefits to see if you are eligible for free fitness services.</p> <h3>8. Get a Part-Time Job at the Gym</h3> <p>Employees at a Y, private gym, studio, or swim club typically enjoy free memberships. You may need to earn a certification and teach classes, or provide administrative or childcare services. This way of using the gym for free isn&rsquo;t the simplest solution but may be a great way to avoid membership fees while picking up some extra cash. (See <a target="_blank" href="">part-time jobs that can get you serious discounts</a>.)</p> <p>Alternatively, you could get a job with a college, university or other organization that allows use of its fitness facilities.</p> <p>Finally, if you don&rsquo;t want to get a job just to use the gym for free, consider <a target="_blank" href="">bartering services for free classes</a>.</p> <p>Workout for free while you decide your next fitness move. You may discover that the gym becomes an essential part of your regimen. Or, you could find that &mdash; while occasional visits to a new facility are invigorating &mdash; you would rather exercise outside or in <a target="_blank" href="">your home gym</a>.</p> <p><em>Have you enjoyed the use of a gym for free?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Legit Ways to Use the Gym for Free " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Lifestyle affordable exercise free things gym Thu, 10 Jan 2013 11:36:33 +0000 Julie Rains 962933 at 15 Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-ways-to-exercise-in-under-5-minutes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="People doing lunges" title="People doing lunges" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="139" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've probably heard of <a href="">interval (or circuit) training</a> &mdash; it has to do with interspersing regular workouts with short, intense bouts of activity, and getting better results. Interval training can be helpful even for people who aren't highly athletic. Pressed for time? Hate going to the gym? That shouldn't keep you from engaging in basic interval training. You don't need to buy expensive equipment, or spend hours every day, to get fit through short workouts. In this article, I've outlined several basic, equipment-free exercises that take under five minutes. You can do them at home, or even at work, to burn fat and build muscle tone and improve your balance. (See also: <a href="">10 Exercises to Do at Work That Don't Make You Look Silly</a>)</p> <p>Although the following exercises themselves are quick, you should never attempt them without first adequately warming up and stretching. Of course, a healthy adult should participate in at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, so if you want to try some of these quick exercises as your daily workout, choose three or four of them and combine them to work all of the major muscle groups.</p> <h2>1. Push-Ups</h2> <p>Done properly, push-ups work your shoulders, chest, upper and lower back, core abdominal muscles, triceps, biceps, and if you are really into it, your buttocks. Done improperly, like most of us do them, they work your shoulders. As I've been told by many people, doing a push-up (or even half a push-up) with perfect form is much better than doing one or more shoddy push-ups.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <p>But how do you do a perfect push-up? There are several things to keep in mind. First, your body needs to be as straight as possible &mdash; tighten your tummy muscles if you have trouble with a sagging midsection. Your hands should touch the ground more or less below your shoulders, and your elbows should be turned out no more than 45 degrees from your body.</p> <p>Now, push-ups aren't easy. Nearly 85% of American adults can't do a single push-up properly (I just made that up, but it's probably true). If you can't lower yourself down to the ground and come back up in a fluid motion, you can start by simply lowering your body to the ground using <em>perfect, straight plank form</em>. Once you have mastered that, you can slowly work your way up to doing a full push-up. Too easy? Do them one-legged.</p> <h2>2. Bicycle Crunches</h2> <p>God, I hate these crunches. They are difficult, but they work a large number of muscles (back, core, legs) and are a great way for runners to train quads for more rigorous running.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" src="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <h2>3. Hip Thrusts</h2> <p>If you have access to a good surface like a weight bench, and are planning on starting a new career as a porn star, a set or three of hip thrusts will work similar core, back, and leg muscles as the bicycle crunches.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" src="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <p>You can add some light hand weights (or even hold some books) and work your triceps in between...uh, thrusts. You'll be the strongest, most well-read thruster out there!</p> <h2>4. Burpees</h2> <p>If there's anything that I hate more than the bicycle crunch, it's the burpee. A throwback to the horrors of gym class (remember when they tried to make you climb a stupid rope? I do.), the burpee is a dizzying exercise that may make you want to vomit. But if done correctly, the burpee gives you a full-body workout in a short amount of time.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src=""></iframe>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <h2>5. Full Locust Pose</h2> <p>Full locust pose uses all of the major muscle groups, but especially concentrates on the core abdominal and back muscles. It is one of the most challenging of all Bikram <a href="">Yoga</a> poses and should be practiced with care.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" webkitallowfullscreen="" src=";byline=0&amp;portrait=0"></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <h2>6. Duck Walk</h2> <p>Duck walking is not for the faint of heart &mdash; or knee. Seriously, don't do this if you have bad joints. It's not as easy as it looks (and it doesn't look that easy). Do it forward for 20 feet, and then backwards for 20 feet.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" src="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <h2>7. Wall Plank</h2> <p>No, not that kind of <a href="">planking</a>. Real planking. Bracing your feet against the wall, you hold you body parallel to the ground, with core muscles engaged. Add some leg curls if you aren't getting enough exercise just holding yourself up.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <h2>8. Side Plank</h2> <p>Side planks are like sideways hip lifts that work core, hip, and arm muscles. Do them slowly, and don't forget to breathe. If you have dumbbells, you can incorporate some light hand weights into the overhead motion.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" src="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <h2>9. Side Lunges</h2> <p>Side lunges work inner and outer thigh muscles, but add a rowing motion, and you've got extra work for your lower back and abdomen. If you do have free weights at home that you can use in the exercise, feel free to employ them, but if not, you're still going to be engaging major muscle groups.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" src="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <h2>10. Donkey Kicks</h2> <p>This super-short video gives you the essence of a good donkey kick. Bring the knee close in to the chest, then slowly raise the leg back and up. Be careful to take your time so as not to smack your knee into the ground.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <p>If you're not really feeling the burn enough, you can alternate between Donkey Kicks and Dirty Dogs. Which would also be a great name for a band.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <h2>11. One-Legged Calf Raises</h2> <p>Calf raises are so easy to do that I often do them at Starbucks while waiting in line. Sure, people look at me weird, but that might also be because I forgot my pants. You can use a step to increase the range of motion, if you like. Also, to work more muscles, raise your arms at the same time. This will require slow movement, and lots of balance, but you'll be working your stabilizer muscles like crazy, which is good.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <h2>12. Jumping Rope</h2> <p>Like all P.E.-related activities, I hate jumping rope with every ounce of my being. I hate it nearly as much as dodgeball. But jumping rope an excellent way to get a quick, intensive cardio session in a short amount of time. It takes a certain amount of rhythm (which I don't have) and coordination (ditto), but if you were to jump rope for five minutes a few times a day, you'd be getting in some wonderful heart conditioning and circulation improving exercise &mdash; and it would certainly help break up the monotony of sitting at a desk all day.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" src="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <h2>13. (One-Legged) Squats</h2> <p>Squats are great for toning and strengthening your quads and glutes, but if you want to do a squat that will work your core muscles, try a one-legged squat. Watch how the Russian-engineered, mega-fit, cheerful Cylon Zuzana does them.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" src="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <p>*Disclaimer &mdash; Squats, even one-legged, will not produce the kind of boobage that you are seeing in this screen still.</p> <h2>14. Explosives</h2> <p>Like an evil sibling of the burpee, the explosive works leg muscles, core muscles, and even arms. Do not try this in a basement with low ceilings, is what I have learned.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" src="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <p>Again, if you do have access to dumbbells or hand weights, you can up the ante a bit by adding some resistance to your workout.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <h2>15. Dead Lift Rowing</h2> <p>I actually refer to this as &quot;sadistic rowing,&quot; as it's something that my personal trainer makes me do while standing on one bent leg for the entire set (10 reps, then 15, then 20). As much as I dread doing this particular exercise, it does incredible things for your balance, working stabilizing muscles in your legs and <a href="">core</a>. You don't have to use a weight &mdash; just reach toward the floor and lift your arm.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <p><em>I'm not a trainer or even a particularly intelligent person. As with any exercise regimen, it's your responsibility to be certain that you are capable of doing the following exercises without injury. Consult with a physician first if you have any conditions that make exercise hazardous.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Productivity affordable exercise interval training quick exercises Tue, 20 Dec 2011 11:24:09 +0000 Andrea Karim 821747 at Where to Find Free or Cheap Yoga Classes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/where-to-find-free-or-cheap-yoga-classes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Woman on yoga ball" title="Woman on yoga ball" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="236" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise, but yoga classes have a reputation for costing an arm and a leg, especially at the trendiest yoga studios. However, don&rsquo;t write off yoga classes right away &mdash; there are ways to get classes for cheap.</p> <p>While <a href="">free online yoga videos</a> are a great way to supplement your routine, I would definitely recommend going to a class, especially if you are a beginner to yoga. It is important to move through the poses with the proper alignment while engaging the proper muscles. Without an instructor&rsquo;s feedback, you are more likely to injure yourself while doing yoga (lower back injuries are common).</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t worry if you can&rsquo;t afford those $15-20 drop-in classes at your local yoga studio &mdash; read on to discover how to get free or cheap yoga classes. (See also: <a href="">Super Solid Yoga Tricks to Help You Relax</a>)</p> <h2>1. New Student Promotions</h2> <p>Never join a yoga studio without first asking about its new student promotion. Almost every yoga studio has one, in varying degrees of value. Some offer the first class for free. Others offer an entire month of unlimited yoga (you can drop in on any of their classes, as many times as you want) for the price of two or three drop-in classes. When I first moved to my current town, I was fortunate to find a yoga studio that offered 90 days of unlimited yoga for $90. Check websites like <a href="">Groupon</a> for deals offered at studios in your city. These deals are perfect for beginner students, as they enable you to build a foundation in the basic poses, preparing you to do your own practice at home.</p> <p>A friend of mine spent her first two weeks of yoga going around to all of the local yoga studios and taking advantage of their first-free classes. She got a range of instructional styles and gained a basic familiarity with the yoga poses without having to drop a penny.</p> <h2>2. Community Yoga Classes</h2> <p>Yoga has become so popular that it is offered everywhere, from community centers to your local community college to the YMCA. Check listings for cheap or free community yoga classes. Some of these classes are by donation, so you pay what you can. If your apartment building has an exercise room, it may also offer cheap yoga classes for residents.</p> <p>My yoga studio offers a $5 community yoga class, as well as a $10 family class, every week as a way to give back to the community. If you&rsquo;re following a yoga video, <a href="">Wii Fit</a>, or a book at home, these cheaper classes are a good way to refresh your knowledge of yoga, ask for instructor advice, and join a community of yoga enthusiasts.</p> <h2>3. Create Your Own Yoga Class</h2> <p>If you have several friends who are all interested in doing yoga, you might want to consider hiring a private yoga instructor who can come to your home and teach you and your friends. Each of you might end up paying less than if you joined a yoga studio, while the yoga instructor ends up getting paid more. You essentially cut out the middleman (the yoga studio), which gives you more personalized attention and better value.</p> <h2>4. Buy Blocks of Yoga Classes</h2> <p>Usually, it is cheaper to buy a block of yoga classes (a card for 10 or 20 classes) than to drop in on each class. Look for a yoga studio that offers class cards with no expiration date. This means that you can spread out your classes over several months without having to worry about losing the remaining value on your card. You can do yoga by yourself at home, and go to a class every week or two to keep yourself inspired.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve become comfortable with the basic yoga poses, you&rsquo;re well on your way to developing your own practice. You won&rsquo;t need to go to classes as often, although you may want to go once in a while to a cheap yoga class just because, well, it&rsquo;s a great deal.</p> <p><em>Where have you found great deals on yoga classes?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Where to Find Free or Cheap Yoga Classes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Camilla Cheung</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Health and Beauty articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Lifestyle affordable exercise yoga yoga classes Tue, 07 Jun 2011 10:24:18 +0000 Camilla Cheung 563957 at Exercising in a Winter Wonderland: How to Be Fit and Frugal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/exercising-in-a-winter-wonderland-how-to-be-fit-and-frugal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Running in snow" title="Running in snow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While training for a marathon last winter, I quit my gym membership. Running 18 miles on a treadmill is simply not possible (one could argue, successfully, that running 18 miles is simply insane altogether, but that&rsquo;s beside the point). What this experience taught me was that it&rsquo;s not only possible to stay fit in the frigid winter months; it&rsquo;s also possible to enjoy your workout without spending a lot on a new gym membership. Here are some ideas to get you moving on your own exercise routine this season:</p> <h3>Buy Good Outdoor Workout Gear</h3> <p>This is an absolute must for me. I couldn&rsquo;t live without my Under Armour fitted running tights and my moisture-wicking top. My standard winter-running outfit keeps me warm after I start moving and wicks away moisture to keep me dry. According to an article in the <a href=";_r=1"><em>New York Times</em></a>, this is the perfect combination for outdoor exercise apparel because it prevents hypothermia, which is brought on by the combination of sweat and cold. You should also buy gear that covers most of your exposed skin in order to prevent frostbite. If bare skin starts to ache, that means that it has fallen to a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit; if it reaches 50, it goes numb. Frostbite occurs when your skin temperature falls to 27 degrees. As an avid outdoor runner, I can tell you that while I have had tingly fingers and toes during some of the colder winter months, I have never had frostbite because I have invested in the appropriate outdoor gear for runners. I can also tell you that being outdoors in the winter, when the majority of the world is inside (and missing out on some beautiful mornings!), is exhilarating.</p> <h3>Find a Good Workout DVD</h3> <p>Not convinced that you want to mix exercise and freezing temps? You could check out a new exercise DVD. No, I&rsquo;m not suggesting you buy the popular-but-pricey <a href=";code=SEMB_GOOGLE_P90X&amp;extcmp=e79dc8a93ec8447a&amp;ef_id=Hn5M99UgAgABRIg:20101206015958:s">P90X</a>&reg; or <a href=";code=SEMB_GOOGLE_SAN&amp;extcmp=13286778763&amp;ef_id=Hn5M99UgAgABRIg:20101206020209:s">Insanity</a>&reg; workouts, or that you purchase a <a href="">Wii Fit</a>, although those are good ways to get moving indoors. Instead, you could try saving money and getting fit by trying a workout DVD. Try checking out this list of <a href="">the best workout DVDs</a> as rated by <em><a href="">Real Simple Magazine</a></em>, or try this list of <a href="">the 10 best</a> as rated by <em><a href="">Fitness Magazine</a></em>. If you&rsquo;re looking to save even more money, try looking for fitness DVDs at your local library (mine has them for rent!), or order one using your <a href="">Netflix</a> subscription.</p> <h2><make workout="" indoor="" own="" your=""></make></h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re not one to follow along with a workout on TV, try making your own indoor workout to stay fit this winter. Start with buying some inexpensive hand weights, resistance bands, or a medicine ball. Then just search online for workouts centered around your equipment or the area of your body that you&rsquo;re looking to tone. You could also create a workout binder to keep yourself on track &mdash; mine has favorite weight-lifting moves and stretches from pages I&rsquo;ve found in fitness magazines, as well as a workout calendar. Tracking your progress in the binder will also help keep you motivated.</p> <h3>Buy a Gym Membership</h3> <p>OK, I know the opening paragraph of this article says that this is about saving money without spending a lot on the gym, but it <em>is </em>possible to get your gym fix, stay out of the cold, and save money. Try buying a month-to-month membership during the winter months at a local facility rather than signing up for a long-term commitment. My <a href="">YMCA</a> offers low monthly rates without a contract, and a nearby university offers month-to-month memberships for people associated with the university (including alumni association members, which includes me!). Signing up for a gym membership near the beginning of a new year often means that new-member fees are waived, too &mdash; always an added bonus.</p> <p>So there are my tips for keeping on track with your workouts while being budget-conscious too. Before you get started on your own routine for the New Year, check out the CDC&rsquo;s <a href="">guidelines for physical activity</a> to give you a baseline on workout frequency and intensity. Then leave me a comment on what you&rsquo;re going to do to stay fit and fiscally responsible in the coming year!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Exercising in a Winter Wonderland: How to Be Fit and Frugal" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Janey Osterlind</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Health and Beauty articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty affordable exercise exercise running winter Mon, 03 Jan 2011 13:00:09 +0000 Janey Osterlind 422597 at The Best Cheap Winter Workout Spots <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-cheap-winter-workout-spots" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Gym class" title="Gym class" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="159" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Winter&rsquo;s about here, and you might be finding yourself in less-than-stellar shape. Have no fear: There are a few inexpensive and easy-to-reach workout spots nearby, so you can get fit fast.</p> <h2>Community Centers</h2> <p>Cheap and as close as down the street, community centers are perfect for drop-ins. There&rsquo;s no annual fee, no contract, and no long-term commitment. All you have to do is show up, pay a few dollars, and work out. Plus, you get to know people in your local community and may even procure a stellar exercise buddy or someone who wants to hit the woods with you. Since community centers are open mostly during the week, though, you&rsquo;ll be on your own for weekend workouts.</p> <h2>YMCA</h2> <p>Great classes. Super weight rooms. Easy access. These workout spots offer everything from standard free weights and swimming pools to classes in yoga and qigong. Some even have racquetball courts, karate training, and masseuses. If you catch YMCAs at a good time &mdash; such as in the middle of the summer or even in the late fall &mdash; you can find a good deal on deposits and monthly fees. Some centers also offer scholarships or fee reductions for people living on lower incomes. Just ask for an application at the front desk, and they can hook you up.</p> <h2>Parks and Recreation Departments</h2> <p>Close to home and primarily focused on outdoor sports, parks and rec departments are best for family-oriented activities, operating baseball fields, rollerblading and cycling lanes, even lakes for kayaking classes. They&rsquo;re fun, they&rsquo;re in your neighborhood, and they&rsquo;re generally cheaper than taking a trip to a state or national park.&nbsp;</p> <h2>National Gym Chains</h2> <p>Bally&rsquo;s and World Gym may seem like expensive solutions for working out, but sometimes they have stellar deals, like a lifetime membership that involves a pretty hefty sign-up fee followed by a monthly price lower than the local YMCA as long as you keep your membership active. Another bonus: You can usually find a place to work out in any major city when you&rsquo;re on the road.</p> <h2>Your House</h2> <p>If you just don&rsquo;t have the money or you&rsquo;re in a more remote area that doesn&rsquo;t offer good gyms, you have a few trusted standbys you can turn to any time. Like running, which you can do pretty much year round, even in some of the coldest places, as long as you have the shoes and layers to do it. Other people run in circles in their living rooms or apartments when all else fails. Walking is another good choice for year-round fitness.&nbsp;</p> <p>Or go back to your childhood and start jumping rope again. It&rsquo;s a great workout, and it&rsquo;s cheap. DVDs for aerobics, calisthenics, and martial arts are also good choices, especially if you rent them from your local library.</p> <p>If you start right now, regular exercise can help you ease your way through the holidays with less stress and more energy! So pick a workout spot, lace up your shoes, and get to it.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Best Cheap Winter Workout Spots" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sasha A. Rae</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Health and Beauty articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty affordable exercise gyms winter Tue, 16 Nov 2010 12:00:11 +0000 Sasha A. Rae 305980 at