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Simple Fitness: 5 Tips to Buy Less and Do More

Prior to my downsizing journey, I read a lot of fitness and health magazines. Most of the magazines and books advocated buying more stuff, joining an expensive gym or promoted diets that were not healthy. I walked away from those magazines feeling depressed and overwhelmed.

Discovering the simple living movement helped me reconnect to my body and start taking small steps toward my fitness goals. Unplugging my television and selling my car gave me the time to meet my goals. Within the last few years, I started swimming with a master’s team again, ran a marathon and developed many long lasting friendships.

I can’t offer one solution to fit all; but here are a few simple fitness tips and activities that have helped me get in shape without buying new stuff.

1. Pick an activity you enjoy.

Getting fit means you have to move your body. So it’s essential to pick an activity you enjoy. It could be running, walking or yoga, but you need to like it. If you don’t like the activity, odds are you won’t follow through.

Running, walking, riding a bike and yoga are all low cost activities. You probably already have a pair of walking/running shoes, a bike and maybe a yoga mat at home. If not, start checking out local shops for sales.

Micro-action: Brainstorm 4-5 activities that you love. What gives you joy?

2. Move your body.

Move your body as much as possible. This can be hard in the modern world, especially if you have a desk job. I sit in front of a computer all day, but I do sometime of physical activity before arriving at the office and either walk or ride my bike to work.

If you don’t have a lot of free time, I’d encourage you to move closer to your place of employment. Moving closer to work and walking or biking to the office are great ways to get moving and don’t cost a lot of money.

Micro-action: Find 30 minutes in your day and get active.

3. Eat fresh and real food.

Eating good, real food has become part of my simple fitness plan.

Last 2009, I read In Defense of Food and changed my diet dramatically. Rather than eating packaged foods, most of my produce comes from the local farmer’s market. Eating real food has increased my energy level and is actually a lot less expensive.

If you have a local farmer’s market in your city, take advantage of it. I used to think that fast food was quick and easy. But I’ve changed my perspective. Cooking food at home saves time, money and it really is healthier and simpler.

Micro-action: Does your city have a farmer’s market? If you don’t know, find out and take a trip to the market.

4. Make time.

Make time in your life for physical exercise. Everyone has at least 30 minutes a day to participate in some-type of physical activity. If you don’t have the time, consider reorganizing your priorities.

Other options include unplugging the television or selling your car. I did both and finally moved off the couch and went outside.

Micro-action: Schedule a physical activity everyday.

5. Be patient.

Reaching any type of fitness goal takes time, so be patient. Getting in shape won’t happen over night. For instance, I started doing yoga in late 2009 and realized how weak my core is! I have a lot of work to do when it comes to strength training and I know it will take time.

Starting out is the easy point, but sticking with your fitness goals is the hard part.

Micro-action: Connect to a support network or find a workout buddy to keep you focused.

Closing Thoughts…

Above all, do what you love and brings you joy. Your body will thank you.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • chesapeake February 16, 2010, 7:57 am

    Great tips, Tammy! But one thing I love to preach about is throwing away your running shoes. Human feet are biologically engineered to not need any extra support; doing so, in fact, is harmful. The running shoe industry is one of the only businesses in history where the product, the need, and the market were literally manufactured by the seller himself. So barefoot running fits right into the minimalist, non-consumerist lifestyle. 🙂

    For all the info, I *highly* recommend “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. Running barefoot, with Vibram FiveFingers, or thin-soled huaraches is the only way to go. I used to hate running, and I’ve just started running barefoot. Halfway through the first mile, I was smiling and didn’t even realize it. The book explains why and how and is absolutely the best non-fiction book I’ve ever read. It’s a real adventure, and you’ll whip through it in no time.

    • Tammy February 16, 2010, 7:18 pm

      @chesapeake – Thanks for the info. I’ve heard so many good things about “Born to Run.” It’s on my reading list. I hate buying running shoes because I feel like it’s so wasteful. I’ve also been thinking of doing the barefoot thing, but have been scared to try it. ): I need to follow my own advice and push past my fears.

      I’d love to have you do a guest post about running barefoot. I’m so impressed. Email me if you’re interested. Hugs…

  • keeping up with the kozlowskis February 16, 2010, 8:16 am

    Great post, I Love this blog, This year my plan is to downsize and get fit currently we are traing for the hastings half marathon on the 21st of march. Tammy I think its great that you run marathons swim in a masters team . My goal is to run a marathon too hopefully this year. How long did it take you to train for the marathon? Thanks for the inspiration looking forward to next blog.

    • Tammy February 16, 2010, 7:04 pm

      @kozlowskis – It took me 4 months of training and I’d been running for a few years prior to the marathon. 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words and reading.

    • Tammy February 16, 2010, 7:09 pm

      @kozlowskis If you’re planning on embarking on any kind of running / walking program, try and find a workout buddy. It makes such a big difference. I’m missing my running buddy like crazy.

  • Chris O'Byrne February 16, 2010, 8:32 am

    I love the micro actions! I can’t wait to get moved and have time to hit the hiking trails and bike trails again.

    • Tammy February 16, 2010, 7:25 pm

      @Lisa and Chris – Yay! I’m so happy you found the content helpful. 🙂

  • Lisa February 16, 2010, 11:17 am

    Tammy- Thanks for the encouraging words!

  • Chelsea February 16, 2010, 5:03 pm

    Great post. I love riding my bike (well until stupid people like to yell at me cause I am slower than a car) but MOST of the time I love biking. If you haven’t yet discovered Clever Cycles in Portland http://clevercycles.com/# you must check them out. Awesome bike store, awesome blog, and they have great advice on combing biking with transit to get to camping locations if you and Logan ever camp. They also rent cargo bikes if you guys ever need to move by bike or carry home something crazy or have a visiting grandma needing a ride http://clevercycles.com/2007/08/16/grandma-got-bak/#

    Go get out and enjoy all those awesome parks you have!


    • Tammy February 16, 2010, 6:59 pm

      @Chelsea – thanks for the info! Yay! I’m so excited to read the Clever Cycles blog. We’re only 3 block from Washington Park and I’ve been hiking all over the place. It is amazing! And we’re only about 1 mile from Forest Park. There is so much to explore and I don’t have to spend a penny. 🙂

      Thanks for the link. Now I know how to carry my dad around! Teehee.

      I know what you mean about cars. 95% of the time I don’t have a problem, it’s just the 5% of mean drivers that make me so mad!

  • Zengirl @ happy heart and mind February 16, 2010, 5:19 pm

    You are right, we do not need to buy stuff to get healthy and exercise but we as a consumer society have solution with buying stuff. A friend of mine wants to starts running and she has spent a few hundreds on running shoes, and running outfits and time keeping sport watch and she has yet to run even 5 minutes!
    I just jump and dance with 2 little ones in my pajamas, fun frolic and free!! can’t beat that.

    • Tammy February 16, 2010, 7:31 pm

      @Zengirl – I agree with you! And dancing is the way to go. My yoga teacher had us break out into dance tonight and it was beautiful. Our heart rates got going so fast.

      And I’m sure keeping up with 2 little ones is a work out as well.


  • Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell February 16, 2010, 6:07 pm

    Excellent tips, Tammy. There’s also a yoga program on in the mornings on one of the “green” channels on satellite TV. If people already have this channel, it’s great. My work area is now separate from my home so I don’t get to have the television during the day, but that program helped me develop some habits I have to this day.

    • Tammy February 16, 2010, 7:13 pm

      Thanks Kerri. I hope the post helps folks. It’s so easy to get sucked into the idea that you have to spend a lot of money on stuff to get fit. I’ve been doing yoga in my living room as well as biking all over Portland. It’s been great (and free). I think I’ve lost a few pounds too. 🙂

      I’ll check out the “green” channels when I visit my parents. It sounds like the yoga programs rock.

  • Walter February 18, 2010, 4:58 am

    Staying fit these days has become complicated. Instead of doing simple exercise to keep us fit we are coaxed by some fitness gurus into splurging our hard earned money on methods that are really unnecessary. What you have shared here are very basic, yet forgotten by many. 🙂

  • Dotte February 18, 2010, 7:54 pm

    That’s a big reason why bike commuting is so wonderful for me. Once I pay for the bike, it’s all free and leaves me plenty of time to do more, since I would spend the time commuting regardless and I get to kill two birds with one stone.

    • Tammy February 19, 2010, 6:28 pm

      @Dottie – I agree. Saving time, breathing fresh air and getting a workout are a few of the best reasons to commute by bike. 🙂

  • Coop February 22, 2010, 1:43 pm

    Lot’s of great points here in your post as well as the comments.

    As a trainer for over 15 years I often think how we as trainers have let down society. You’ll often see fitness “gurus” hawking pills, specific workout “systems”, gadgets, etc.. They are all touted as the next thing to solving people’s fat loss problems.

    There are no miracles. Your body responds to eating healthy and challenging it…be it yoga, weights, running, etc.. You body will respond positively when it is “pushed”. (I realize that there are certain medical conditions when people shouldn’t be “pushed”.)

    I like to tell my clients that I could give them all of my workout “secrets” on one Post It note.
    1. Eat clean.
    2. Train hard, but smart.
    3. Rest and recuperate. (Massage, meditate)

    End of story.

  • SimplyJo March 2, 2010, 6:08 am

    Gutted – just read this post after wearing my new running shoes for the first time! I was tempted to try the funny looking five toe thingies but bottled it and resorted to buying my usual brand! Oh well will just have to do lots of miles so my new ones wear out and then request a pair of the funny looking ones off the Hubby for my birthday! Have fun all – run like the wind! 🙂 (training for a half marathon for charity currently- only 12 days to go…)