10 simple ways to stay fit and save money

Nearly half of Americans embrace the long-established tradition of making a New Year’s resolution. Pledge to get healthier, exercise more, and lose weight are the top three personal pledges many of us made just weeks ago, according to a survey by Statistica.

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As motivated as we are in January, the truth is that several studies indicate that nearly 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions will fail by February. The problem is that persevering with a pledge to get in shape and shed pounds can quickly derail when you consider the cost of equipment, meal plans, personal trainers, fitness apparel, and membership fees.

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If you’re determined to stay fit in the new year but worry about cutting your budget along with your waistline, there are ways to cut back while slimming down. Here are some tips that can help you succeed in staying fit while saving money. And remember, the key is creating healthy habits that are cost-effective and sustainable.

Shop for gym memberships: “Gyms often run attractive promotions in January to entice those who plan to join them,” said Julie Rumhold, consumer savings expert for DealNews.com. “Although some fitness centers offer specials throughout the year, January is the best time to look for discounted prices, waived membership fees, and additional perks.”

Rumhold suggests hitting up a few different fitness centers before making a decision. Your preferred facility may be willing to match the price to a competitor’s membership fee. Also, be sure to ask if there is a discount for students, families, and seniors; Your local YMCA will likely offer a variety of rates. It’s always worth considering chains like Planet Fitness, too. You can join for $1 and $10 per month and have access to facilities throughout the metropolitan area.

Find free alternatives to weight loss programs: US News & World Report named Weight Watchers the best weight-loss diet of 2023. It’s popular, but you’ll pay more than $20 a month for an online-only membership. There are free or very low-cost programs you can download to your smartphone that can help you track your food score values ​​(similar to Weight Watchers), calories, and activity. Healthi, MyFitness Pal, Fooducate, and Lose It! are a few of the less expensive alternatives.

Stream videos: No need to buy expensive DVDs if you’re into home fitness (and who really uses them anymore?). These days, you can stream free workout videos—from yoga and tai chi to barre and cardio—online via YouTube, Roku, and Amazon Prime. If you have a stationary bike, you can stream your cycling sessions on YouTube as well.

Do not waste clothes: Inexpensive fitness apparel can be just as trendy and functional as its expensive counterparts from stores like Lululemon. To stay on budget, shop retailers like Marshalls and TJMaxx for discount brand clothing. Stores big and small like Kohl’s, JCPenney, Walmart, Old Navy, and Target carry an array of workout fails. Last year, Dick’s Sporting Goods opened a warehouse store in Crossgates Mall where you’ll find racks of clothing at liquidation prices and racks of discount shoes.

Find used equipment: As noted, many an analyst’s quest for better fitness fails by February, which means all the shiny new workout gear they bought just after the holidays will be given an old spur. Look for discounted returns at local sporting goods stores or scroll through the Facebook Marketplace to find deals on scrap gear.

Jump to Groupon:When Groupon first launched in 2008, the discount e-commerce marketplace only offered one deal per day. Now, you can find thousands of offers, including hundreds of discounts on nutritional supplements, exercise equipment, and memberships at your local fitness facility. Now you can get 10 sessions of yoga and strength conditioning at Good Karma Studio in Albany for $41, a saving of nearly $30. Or, get three 30-minute personal training sessions at C-Suite Fitness in Albany for almost half the price.

Shop your pantry: The USDA estimates that the average American household wastes $1,500 on uneaten food annually, so before you head to the supermarket, take inventory of what you already have. If it’s time for a refresher, choose affordable dried legumes and grains that you can incorporate into a variety of healthy recipes.

Shop seasonal products: The harvest season here in the Northeast has passed, but there are plenty of options for healthy and affordable produce, says Rumhold. “Look for citrus fruits in season, especially lemons, oranges, and grapefruit,” she suggests. But January is also good for root vegetables, including beets, turnips, and celery root. Aside from these items, find excellent prices for in-season cabbage, kale, collard greens, broccoli, and cauliflower, as well as winter squash varieties.”

Plan, prepare and freeze future meals: Cooking a week’s or months’ worth of meals in the freezer at one stretch can lead to money-saving, stress-free, controlled dinners. Associating freezer-friendly recipes with displayed items will save you cash. And if you toss leftovers in the freezer, rather than trash, you also save money by reducing food waste. Ready meals can be as simple as dividing cooked poultry into meal-sized packages. If you have the time and patience, you can prepare, package, and freeze nutritious meals for a week or a month in one weekend. Head to the web for inspiration.

Abstain from alcohol: Have you jumped on the Dry January bandwagon? If not, there is still time. Launched 10 years ago in the UK, Dry January is a month in which you are challenged to voluntarily eliminate alcohol from your diet. More than 35 percent of adults who routinely drink participated in a January Dry in 2022, according to CGA, a division of Nielsen Corp. Looking at the food and beverage market. Cutting out alcohol, even if it’s temporary, can improve your overall health, help you sleep better, boost your mood, limit snacking, cut calories and so much more. Your wallet will thank you, too.

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