Fitness and budgeting: It can be done

Kendra Wicks

College life is busy. Among an onslaught of projects, papers, sporting events and time with friends, who has time to hit the gym? Even after graduation, free-time seems to keep declining. Unfortunately, workouts are often one of the first things people cut when they’re short on time. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some inexpensive ways to squeeze in a sweat when you can’t make it to the gym.

Make your own weights. You don’t need to invest in a rack of dumbbells to lift weights at home. Everything around you has weight, and you lift a lot more each day than you realize. On average, students carry backpacks weighing between 12 and 20 pounds, according to a study done by Independent School Management. Everyday items such as a bag of groceries, a jug of water or even a pet can serve as weight for your training. Carry your dog up and down the stairs or do squats wearing a heavy backpack.

Use your own body. If your dog won’t sit still long enough to finish a set of lunges with him, you can always use your own body to train itself. Bodyweight exercises are great for building endurance and toning muscles. Planks, push-ups, jumping squats, lunges and burpees are just a few such exercises that will help you break a sweat in your own bedroom.

Get creative with your space. Sidewalks, benches, couches and stairs can become the perfect equipment to aide in your fitness journey. You can use a stretch of sidewalk to mark a distance for sprints or lunges. Benches and couches are great for step-ups, elevated push-ups or tricep dips. Stairs also provide an easy and fun workout. You can run up and down them or use them for jump squats, lunges or side steps.

Invest in versatile equipment. If you’re willing to put a little bit of money into your home gym collection, there are a few good pieces to buy first. Resistance bands are great for warming up and toning almost any muscle in your body. Most come in three- or four-packs and are available on Amazon or eBay for $10-15. A solid jump rope can be found online for $10 or less. Equipment like this can stretch your dollar and work your entire body.

The only thing standing between you and your goals is you. Get creative with what you’ve got, and have fun getting active.