Gym Membership AlternativesBetween naps, homework, playdates and extracurricular activities, parental responsibilities are never-ending, leaving little time for personal activities, especially exercise! The mere thought of fitting the gym into your schedule (and your budget) may seem discouraging. But physical activity is essential to combating everyday stress and increasing energy.

The good news is that you can easily incorporate physical activity into your life without signing up for an expensive gym membership. Here are six gym membership alternatives that will help shrink your waist line and not your bank account.

  1. Join the “Jungle Gym” – Next time you take the kids to the park, rather than supervise from the bench, join in on the fun! Your local park offers the equipment you need to build muscle, increase your heart rate and burn calories. Play a game of “tag”, do chin ups on the monkey bars and do arm dips on the slide.
  2. Shovel Snow – When the snow falls, get outside and shovel the driveway (and your neighbour’s too!) Shovelling snow is a great full body workout and can burn between 300-500 calories per hour!
  3. Go for a Stroll –Get in a great cardio workout by going outside for a 30 – 60 minute walk at least three days a week. Meet with other moms or enjoy some private time with your little one as you enjoy some fresh air.
  4. Play Video Games – Video games have come a long way in recent years. There are now many interactive systems such as the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect that encourage exercise through sports, dance and aerobic games. What a great way to get in shape while bonding with the kids! Popular fitness video games include:
    • Wii Fit Plus –Wii Fit Plus appeals to everyone at all stages with 40 training activities to choose from.
    • Zumba Fitness – Available for Xbox 360 and PS3, Zumba Fitness helps you get fit as you dance salsa, hip-hop, meringue and mambo.
    • Nike Training Club – Nike Training Club is an iPhone and iPad app. With 85 custom-built easy-to-follow workouts, you can have a “personal trainer” anytime, anywhere you need it.
  5. Put on a DVD –Whether you download a program from the Internet or pick one up from your local store, plenty of DVDs are available that require little to no equipment and suit your individual needs. Popular workout DVDs include:
    • P90X – Intensive but effective, Tony Horton’s P90X combines a variety of different cardiovascular and muscle training workouts to help improve your overall fitness in 90 days.
    • Mommy Baby Body Builders – If you’d rather not wait until baby is napping to work out, this DVD engages your little one while getting you in shape.
    • 30 Day Shred – Only have 20 minutes? This program by Jillian Michaels targets every “problem” area in a short time to help you lose inches and pounds in 30 days.
  6. Eat Your Greens – No matter how much you exercise, you likely won’t see the results you’re looking for without following a proper diet. A diet rich in lean protein, fruit, vegetables and whole grains will help fuel your workouts and help you lose and maintain your weight.

Getting in shape doesn’t have to mean joining a gym. There are several gym membership alternatives that will keep you fit while saving you time and money. *Remember – Check in with your doctor prior to starting any exercise program.