Personal Finance Apprentice

Functional Exercise, Or How To Get In Shape Without Spending Money Or Losing Time

Functional Exercise, Or How To Get In Shape Without Spending Money Or Losing Time

Functional Exercise, Or How To Get In Shape Without Spending Money Or Losing Time

Functional Exercise, Or How To Get In Shape Without Spending Money Or Losing Time

Exercising is definitely one of the most popular topics right now (along with dieting). I don’t even need to read or watch anything to know that. I just have to look at the date to know beach season is here, and getting in shape is again the hottest topic out there.

And I’m a big fan of exercise. But I’ve never been fond of going to the gym because the fees are just so high! And I’m not just making excuses. A previous company offered free access to their own gym facility as a perk; I was there three or four times a week. Sure, I didn’t look like I went to the gym even once a week, but still…

Another reason I don’t like going to the gym is time. It’s not always possible to make time for everything you like. It sounds like an excuse, and maybe sometimes it is. But the the fact is you’re going to eventually have to prioritize going to the gym above other things. And there’s no guarantee that with all the things on your plate, going to the gym is going end up near the top of the list.

But I love exercise. That’s why instead of going to the gym I prefer doing functional exercise. Functional exercise is just a fancy term for doing physical activity that actually has a purpose. And that’s why I like it so much, because I’m a big fan of efficiency. I get my exercise without taking time away from other things that I like – and I get done stuff that needs doing to boot!

It may not seem like much at first, but that’s because we usually take the easier route in our day to day activities, mostly for convenience.

But try it and you’ll notice your energy level will increase. Plus, it’s all about what makes sense for you. You won’t need to buy anything. Instead you just have to find other ways of doing the things you do.

For example:

  • Take the longer route to get the restroom or pantry. It’s only a few extra steps, each trip. But over the entire workday, that adds up to about a hundred or so extra steps. 
  • Use the stairs whenever you can; even walking up escalators, when you can. (I go down and up five flights of stairs everyday, and pretty quickly too. I do it whenever I take out the trash.)
  • Carry heavy grocery bags twice a week, instead of small ones everyday. You can laugh at this, but try carrying what 2-3 people eat every three or four days. (Square your shoulders, and bend your elbow very slightly, this way all the pressure is on your shoulders and triceps. Or hold it with your elbows bent slightly with your forearms facing forward, so the pressure is on your biceps.)
  • Cooking and washing dishes. It may not seem like a physically taxing exercise, but try it and see if you aren’t breathing harder at the end. Plus, learning new recipes can help you exercise your mind too.
  • Try walking instead of commuting for short (300 meters or less) distances. (I’ve actually tried walking 500 meters. One time I’m pretty sure I walked over 1 kilometer. But at those points you’re losing time as much as getting exercise).
  • Carry a great, big book in your bag. This is good once you get used to walking the distances you normally cover. Plus, when you get stuck in traffic, you can start reading. Just be sure to leave it when you’re going to buy groceries or other heavy stuff.

A lot – or even all of these – might not make sense for you. But that’s the great thing about functional  exercise. It’s not a prescribed set of things to do. You’re free to do things that makes sense for your lifestyle. You can walk your pets, you can run around the park with your kid, you can go swimming, hiking or running with your significant other, or even gardening.

It can be anything, really. Just think of something that involves anything physical, and don’t settle for the easier, more convenient way.

In fact, why don’t you share physical activities you like to do? Just leave a comment and let’s see how many other people do the same thing.

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photo credit: peregrinari via photopin cc

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