Monday, August 06, 2012


Exercise can be fun — and free

As I get older I seem to be getting increasingly lazy.  I found myself putting my hands under the faucet at home and waiting for the water to turn on – just like the automatic water faucets at work. Some public restrooms have sensors so we don’t even have to flush the toilet.

TV remotes, automatic door openers, electric can openers, escalators located right next to stairwells…it seems there is no need to exert ourselves these days. We all know we should get daily exercise for good health, but not all of us want to pay for a gym membership or buy an expensive treadmill to accomplish that goal.  Here are 10 ways to get exercise — and all for free!

•  Park your car as far away as you can from the store or building entrance and walk.
•  Improvise on exercise equipment — fill an empty milk jug or ketchup bottle with sand, and use instead of dumbbells, but research proper use of weights to avoid injury.  Laundry detergent bottles and soup cans are also good improvised weights.
•  Take the stairs, not the elevator or escalator.
•  Clean your house — be vigorous when vacuuming, bending, dusting, or mopping the floor. 
•  Join community programs — walking or hiking groups are already in existence in most communities, or start one of your own.
•  Substitute a yoga exercise ball for your lounge chair when watching TV at home, or do it at your desk at work if your boss permits it!
•  Get off the couch and exercise while watching TV.  A friend of mine does “crunches” or sit-ups during every commercial break.
•  Check your local library for free exercise books or videos to check out.
•  Call your local Parks and Recreation department and ask for free exercise programs.  Many have made arrangements with schools for brisk hall walking during after-school hours.  Free use of school basketball or tennis courts may also be available when school is not in session.
•  Find an exercise buddy and set up a schedule to meet and go for a brisk walk in the neighborhood — it’s much more fun, and you will be motivated to stick to your regimen so as not to disappoint your buddy.

Alice Facente is a community education nurse for the Backus Health System. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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