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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Get fit for free

The Times have an article up today with some great tips on how to get fit for free. The Bargain Queen is a big believer in free exercise, so she has her own suggestions to add:

Dog walking
The Bargain Queen's flatmate has a dog who needs walking a couple of times a day. Puppy not only provides added motivation (you try resisting a furry big-eyed creature who really wants to get out of the house), but she also demands a very brisk pace so it's a more intense workout. Not to mention all the strength work when puppy decides to tear off after another dog, dragging The Bargain Queen with her.

If you're feeling entrepreneurial, you could even get the neighbours to pay for your dog walking services and make some money as you sweat.

Catalogue delivery
Another way to make money while walking: The Bargain Queen's sister delivered catalogues for a while. The money's pretty crap, but it's enough to keep you in walking shoes and to motivate you when you might not otherwise do any exercise.

Leave the car at home
This is another way to do a lot more walking - just try not to use your car if you can possibly avoid it. For example, we walked to the fish markets today, 25 minutes each way. It seems like you have to take a car to buy fish because it goes off if it gets warm on the way home. The trick is, to ask the fishmonger to put some ice in with your fish, so it stays cold for long enough. We also often walk to the supermarket (builds muscle carrying stuff home), the movies (walk off the popcorn), the hairdresser, Kinkos, the shops... pretty much anywhere that's a walkable distance.

Royal National ParkBushwalk
Getting out into the bush is a brilliant way to stay fit, plus it's really cheap. It does take a whole afternoon though. The only costs to get started is a book of bushwalks near your place and a pair of sturdy shoes. We usually catch the train to a National Park and take it from there, so it's hours of exercise for a train fare.

These first four probably give the impression that Bargain Queen LOVES walking, and you're right. It's not icky and sweaty, you don't need a team to do it, and you can stickybeak all over your neighbourhood as you go. (LOVE peering through other people's windows at dusk. To check out their decor of course! Minds out of the gutter, people!)

The Bargain Queen does have some ideas that don't involve walking, too...

Yoga / kum nye / pilates / stretching
The Bargain Queen paid a helluva lot of money for various exercise classes, before realising that once you know the postures, you can keep going at home for free. The added bonus is that when The Bargain Queen holds a posture for five minutes at home, she uses the time to read half a chapter of a book if she can't be bothered meditating. Find a yoga instructor who'll let you do that!

Bike riding
Another form of exercise The Bargain Queen loves, is getting out on her bike. They're great for travelling longer distances than you can easily walk, and in the inner city they can be faster than taking the car. (The Bargain Queen keeps to side streets so she's never stuck in traffic.) If you don't already have a bike, try Freecycle - there have been a few given away recently in our area, so you might get lucky.

Elly in MoontaSwimming /snorkelling at the beach
The Bargain Queen doesn't do this very often herself, because she turns lobster red no matter how much sunscreen she uses. But in Sydney, you've got to be mad or very pale to stay out of the water. It's free, it's everywhere, and as long as you don't mind sharks and jellyfish it's brilliant! (Joking!)

Dancing round the house to trashy music
The Bargain Queen's final free exercise tip requires nothing more than a Christina Aguilera CD and a complete lack of shame. Fire up the stereo, shed your inhibitions and dance like there's noone watching. (Possibly also close the curtains, so you can be sure there isn't.) A CD-full of embarrassing dancing works out to almost an hour of cardio, plus you can practice all those Saturday Night Fever dance moves to use next time you're out clubbing. Or maybe it's just The Bargain Queen who does that...

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