Saving money and getting in shape are two of the most common New Year's resolutions. They're also two of the most commonly broken ones.
Changing up your workouts can keep you interested in fitness, while free workouts can help save you money while doing so. My favorite ways to do both include sprinting, running stairs and jumping rope, all of which can also come in handy if you just want to be a stronger, faster runner.
In addition to being free (except for the purchase of an inexpensive jump rope), these cardio routines can also be done anywhere. Which is perfect if you're traveling for the holidays and want to stay on your fitness path or want a head start on your resolutions. And since many fitness trainers and websites post free workouts on social media, such as Men's Health Top Trainer Gideon Akande and aSweatLife (a site I contribute to), you can incorporate body weight exercises into your new routines as well.
Muscle & Fitness says, "Anyone that competes in a sport that involves coordination, footwork, quickness, hand speed, agility, rhythm, and even power – whether competitively or recreationally – will definitely benefit from training with a jump rope." It's essentially a full body, calorie burning workout. And it's fun!
There are several workouts online you can follow, that include just jumping intervals or alternating jumping with body weight exercises. Tips on form and skill can be found in videos at Punk Rope, who holds jump rope classes on the East Coast. I have also enjoyed workouts from Huffington Post and Men's Fitness, which I've done at a nearby track or park.
Jumping rope can take a few tries to get into a rhythm, but once you do, it is an effective and entertaining deviation from your normal workout routine.
I like sprints because the short, fast bursts make me feel athletic, whereas I often just feel like I'm plodding along during long distances. While sprints can done as individual workouts, like I enjoy, speed work can be incorporated into longer runs, for those looking to improve their racing pace. Whichever way you're doing it, the benefits of speed work, as told to Runner's World by exercise physiologist Marius Maianu, include weight loss, strength building, faster feet, increased stamina, running stronger and longer, and prolonged enjoyment of running.
These workouts can, but don't necessarily have to be done on a track. The distance markers and straightaways vs turns are often utilized, but you can also go to a park, on a hiking trail or around your neighborhood and gauge distance using landmarks, like the lampposts at Audubon Park.
Just don't forget to warm up and work on proper form. Then, check out Runner's World 's tips on speed training or try the sprints I enjoy, given to me by my track runner/coach father, that I wrote about for aSweatLife.
One of my favorite things about when I lived in Los Angeles was its proximity to the mountains. I could just walk down the street and get in a strenuous hill workout, resulting in relatively quick weight loss and a feeling of overall fitness. I've mostly lived in flat cities since then, but I've found that adding stair workouts to my runs, or more accurately, walks, is a great way to replace strenuous hills.
Shape magazine says, "Stair workouts not only kick your butt, they also firm it like nothing else." And running coach/marathoner Brad Hudson told Runner's World, "There's nothing better for developing speed and muscle power," than running uphill.
If you don't have access to hills at home or on the road, look for stairs at a local high school or college stadium, a park or anywhere that has a set of stairs you can freely run/walk up and down. If you're in New Orleans, Crescent Park has two sets of stairs that are perfect to climb and the straightaway in between them can be used to cool down with a walk, jog or body weight exercises.
Have you incorporated any of these workouts into your fitness routine? Interested in trying them out? Head over to Move Ya Brass's Instagram and tell us your thoughts on these or other free workouts to keep you on your fitness path.
- Lori Wilson