Senior Fitness Tips to Keep You Healthy Without Breaking the Bank
Americans spend an enormous amount of money on health and wellness, averaging over $120 a month according to Lending Tree, or more than $14,000 a year. And that number is only going up. As we get older, physical fitness becomes more and more essential to a good quality of life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that people 65 and older should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week and perform muscle-strengthening exercises twice a week to lead a healthy and independent life. At first glance, it can become a Catch 22 situation, balancing your finances and your health on top of all the other responsibilities of life, especially as you approach your senior years.
But while you may not always feel super motivated to hit the gym, it doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. Here, you can learn how to drop pounds without dropping too many dollars.
Senior Fitness Tips to Keep You Healthy Without Breaking the Bank
Get Your Workout In at Home
Health and fitness, like charity, begins at home. With a bit of creativity and forward planning, you can pursue an active lifestyle in a lot of different ways, starting with this handy list.
- Take a walk: You can never go wrong by starting off with a daily walk. Brisk walking is always free, and provides a great moderate aerobic workout.
- Use your body weight: Body weight exercises, such as push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks can also be done anywhere. You can build entire workout routines with just body weight exercises using free fitness apps, such as MyFitnessPal, to help keep you on track.
- Find free workout ideas online: You can use the internet for your own research to build your workout routine from scratch. Healthline has a very useful post of basic strength, flexibility and balance exercises that seniors can do for free without setting foot in a gym.
- Create a home gym: You may even want to go as far as to make a workout space or home gym. (The Senior List has a guide to the best exercise equipment for seniors.) Exercise equipment is never cheap, but the best way to find the best deals is to look for used equipment from sites like Amazon or eBay, where you can find a treadmill for as little as $65. You can also take advantage of an AARP membership program, which specifically offers discounts on exercise equipment.
- Get centered: If you’re interested in Yoga, Yoga teacher Jessamyn Stanley has tips for practicing yoga on a budget, from finding inexpensive classes to making your own equipment instead of buying expensive gear. We also have articles on ways to find cheap or free yoga classes, or you can take a free online yoga class.
Of course, you’ll also want to do your best to eat healthy. WebMD has a few basic tips for how to diet after 60, and along with focusing on more fruits and veggies and lean meats, it also warns against chasing fad diets. So don’t throw away money after the latest dieting programs and kits! Nothing can replace developing good eating habits, but there’s also lots of ways to save on groceries.
Make the Most of Senior Discounts
Here we have an extensive, up-to-date list of senior discounts that shows you where and how to use your Senior Discounts. Besides taking advantage of discounts offered for groceries, many of these can be used to help you pursue a more active lifestyle.
For example, take advantage of the National Park Service’s Senior Pass, and go for a walk or jog in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. If you are feeling especially restless, races and fun runs across the country usually offer discounted entry fees for seniors. To find runs in your area, RunGuide.com can show you where to go and help you compare prices.
Take Advantage of Your Silver Sneakers Program
One of the most effective programs for seniors looking to live healthy is Silver Sneakers. An all-inclusive health and wellness program, it is free to all senior citizens through select Medicare plans. Silver Sneakers offers a large collection of videos and online classes to show you how to do various exercises and workouts, perfect for working out at home. Their app also provides nutrition workshops for healthy eating. In short, if you want to work out on your own in your home, Silver Sneakers is an invaluable tool to help you live a healthier life.
Save at the Gym and Fitness Classes
Silver Sneakers also partners with major gym brands, including Planet Fitness, LA Fitness and Esporta, offering free or discounted membership. There is something to be said about the convenience of having all the workout equipment you need in one place, and several like-minded people ready to help. Many gyms also offer classes and personal training for no additional charge, or discounted prices for members.
Community centers, most notably YMCA centers, and ones featured in public parks, are also partnered with Silver Sneakers, offering similar classes and discounts as you would find at the major gym brands. Silver Sneakers’ website also has a very useful location finder, cataloging over 15,000 locations partnered with the program for you to take full advantage.
Even without Silver Sneakers, you may find out that there are free community centers in your area. Besides that, many cities have free exercise equipment in public parks.
Finally, if you live in a retirement community or age-restricted community, you should see what amenities are covered by your fees. In many cases, access to fitness equipment or classes is factored into your amenities fees. PrivateCommunities.com has a search function that allows you to search communities by price and amenities, so you can find the best deal for you and your lifestyle.
Consider a Trainer
Another option is shopping around for a personal trainer. There are several services that offer personal, in-home training, such as Gymguyz.
René Taubensee, the co-owner of a Gymguyz franchise in West Orlando, explained that when it comes to devoting to a new fitness routine, “cost is always an issue, but pursuing a healthy lifestyle is always an investment in your future.”
Personal trainers are going to be more expensive for single, one-on-one sessions, but René explained that discounts are not only offered for long-term commitments, but rates are also lower for groups of friends or family, as well. According to Lessons.com, the average session with a personal trainer is $55 per hour, but group rates average at $35. So ask your spouse, neighbors, or friends to make a workout group; not only is it a great way to get the most out of the sessions, you will be saving a lot of money, too.
Making Senior Fitness a Priority Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
Simply put, there have never been more options for seniors looking to maintain a healthy quality of life without burning a hole in your wallet. Whatever path you take to physical fitness, either at home, a gym, with a personal trainer, or a more creative routine, you can find ways to save money while leading your best life.
William Fewox has worked as a freelance writer since 2017, and his work is featured in literary magazines such as The Aquarian, The Navigator and The Historian. He has also self-published a handful of novels. He has worked as a Social Studies teacher and research assistant in local Florida museums and more recently has worked as an editor for start-up publishing company. William holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Jacksonville University.