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6 Affordable and Effective Exercise Essentials

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If you need inspiration to become more physically active, a push to get going or just want to have more fun, here are six of the best, easy-to-afford and effective pieces of exercise gear. Using just one of these regularly will improve your fitness without straining your budget:

1. Resistance bands: Stretchy and fun, they do the work of weights but pack easily in a purse or pocket. Versatile for several body areas. ($3+)
2. Jump rope: Remember when you could jump for hours with your friends? You don't need hours now—just 5 or 10 minutes of jumping (indoors, if you prefer) will boost your activity level and burn calories. ($3+)

3. Exercise mat: You'll be more comfortable, with a safer grip, than exercising on a carpet or bare floor. That will help you be active more easily, for a longer time. ($15+)
4. Hand weights: Keep a set by the computer or TV and use while watching something entertaining. ($5+)
5. Exercise ball: Sized for your height, most of these come with their own pump for easy inflation (and reinflation). Great for strengthening various muscle groups. Use as a chair and you'll get a bit of a workout just from balancing on it. ($15+)
6. Pedometer: Just put it on and in a day or two you'll be more aware of how much (or little) you're moving every day. Aim to increase your average daily steps by 5 percent every week until you reach 10,000 steps a day, a goal that the American Heart Association and other experts suggest. Then add more to increase benefits. ($10+)

Often, you can find fitness items such as exercise DVDs, roller skates, workout clothing and more at yard or garage sales for just a dollar or two.

If you're interested in acquiring big home-gym equipment, yard sales and online community boards are great places to find barely used items. Recently, one site had offerings that included treadmills for $35 to $75, a weight bench for $1 and an elliptical machine for $180. Just remember that you'll probably have to arrange for transporting the big and heavy pieces—as well as find a space for them in your home.


American Heart Association. "Frequently Asked Questions About Physical Activity." http://www.americanheart.org.

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EmpowHER Guest

I've always been a fan of elastic bands since the resistance increases as the mechanical advantage does

How to Exercise Throughout Your Day

August 19, 2009 - 1:04am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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