Exercise Equipment Costs and Financial Factors
Many people hesitate in committing to an exercise program thinking that it will be too expensive. For example, some kinds of exercise require specialized equipment. However, you don't need to allow equipment costs and other expense to become a barrier to your adopting an exercise program you'll enjoy. While one can spend a lot of money on gym memberships or equipment, it is not necessary to do so to become fit.
Many exercise opportunities exist that cost little or nothing. The major initial expense of a yoga class, for example, is the cost of the class. No special outfits are required for yoga; Shorts, or comfortable sweatpants and a tee shirt will do. If you really want to save money and socialization is not an issue, you can even find yoga classes broadcast on TV (free) or recorded on video (inexpensive or free from your local library). There is not even a need for special shoes as most yoga is conducted barefoot. As most people already have appropriate clothing and the television is a fixed cost, the real major investment in attending a yoga class is one's time. The same is true of many other exercise classes, including Pilates and Tai Chi.
Other exercise programs, such as jogging, will require an up front investment in equipment. One cannot run safely or comfortably for an extended period without having a good pair of running shoes. While some expense is unavoidable, a top of the line pair of shoes will not be necessary until one's running habit is firmly established.
A few words about exercise equipment are in order for those who will be purchasing it.
- It is a very good idea to research what the basic essentials are for particular activities before plunging into an exercise program. It's also a good idea to make sure you'll be sticking with a particular exercise program before investing in higher-end equipment to support that program. You can always upgrade to more sophisticated, specialized equipment later.
- Appropriate exercise clothing is available in specialty fitness stores as well as major discount retailers. While some people prefer a loose fitting pant and top, others prefer more form fitting garments so loose clothing does not get in their way. Look for synthetic fabrics that wick sweat away from the body and dry quickly. It is important that the clothing you choose not bind at the waist or restrict your movements. Pick what is most comfortable and what you feel is most flattering on you.
- Different athletic shoes are designed for different sports, so look for shoes appropriate to the exercise program you'll be most often pursuing. Cross-training shoes are usually appropriate if you follow a varied program of activities while working out in a gym. Cross-trainers are definitely appropriate for classes like step and kick boxing and should also work for lifting weights and working on the stair master or elliptical machines. Some cross-trainers have firm areas in the soles that will be beneficial in a spin class. If you do a lot of running on the treadmill, however, you might prefer to wear specialized running shoes.
- There are always inexpensive alternatives for obtaining sports and exercise equipment. "Play It Again Sports" type stores sell used equipment at big discounts, and deals can sometimes be had on Internet auction sites like eBay. Just be sure that anything you buy is in good condition and is certified as being in good repair.