Run (or Walk) Your Way Towards Frugal Fitness

marathon yellowAlthough temperatures are freezing and you probably feel more like hibernating than kick-starting your New Year’s fitness routine, the clock is ticking! Time to get off that couch and embrace the new you that 2014 has in store.

And don’t let you budget be your excuse for inactivity. Exercise is not explicitly the domain of pricey health clubs, expensive equipment and matching designer yoga gear.

One of the cheapest (and most effective) forms of exercise is running or walking, depending on your level of fitness, and on your ultimate fitness goal. So get up, and pound that pavement (without pounding your wallet in the process!).

Open the Door

Unlike gyms with hours that might be restrictive, all you need do to get the benefits of a run or a walk is open your front door.

Running and walking is super convenient, which means that you are more likely to stick to your fitness routine. One of the major reasons that exercise regimes fail is that they don’t fit into your lifestyle. Help your chances for success by opting for convenience.

Lace Em’ Up

Probably the greatest expense associated with running and/or walking is a good, solid pair of shoes.

When getting shoes, it is extremely important to get a quality pair that fits correctly. If you don’t you are open yourself up to a bevy of unpleasantries (blisters) all the way through to injuries (shin splints).

Also, be sure to replace your shoes on a semi-regular basis. It is generally recommended that you replace your shoes every 100km or so (which adds up faster than you think!).

Start Slow, but Think Big

Even though you picture yourself sailing through the ribbon at a major race, realize that running and/or walking for a distance is a gradual process- which requires time.

You can mesh running and walking (running, with plenty of walking breaks) if you are a walker trying to become a runner.

You must build your mileage (or your time spent, depending on how you are measuring yourself) gradually. Even if you feel great, don’t go too fast, or you will sideline yourself with an injury. The recommended mileage increase is about 10 percent a week.

Do set a goal for yourself, whether it is building up to a certain mileage, training to complete a race, or working towards shaving time off your personal best.

Listen to Your Body

While you, with your iron-clad resolve to become fit, may think that you are in charge, it is imperative that you listen to your body.

If it hurts, don’t do it! The saying “no pain, no gain” is completely false when it comes to running and walking.

Make sure to include a variety of stretches after each workout that address the lower body (glutes and hamstrings, particularly) as well as the upper body.

Make it a Family Affair

Include your family in your fitness goals by bringing them along with you. Running and walking are activities that are not age specific and are of benefit to all members of the family.

You can even put the little ones in a stroller, and get them in the fit habit early.


Although the temps are very low outside right now, you are still sweating and losing valuable moisture when you exercise.

Make sure to pay attention to replenishing fluids as needed.

Play Safe

If possible, run/walk with a friend. Avoid isolated areas like trails and woods. Stay on well-lit paths, and always run/walk with a phone and your ID.