Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Free (or nearly free) Exercise

(phone photo from a recent weekend walk)

Hi Friends!

Time for a heart to heart.....

For over 10 years I have had a gym membership at a very beautiful and expensive gym.  To my credit, I used the gym constantly, especially for spin classes and other cardio and definitely got my money's worth.  I was especially obsessive during this period of my life and counted on the gym in the colder months to get it all done.

Two things have changed in the past year for me:
1)  I have had a bad and chronic injury (plantar faciitis on the right heel area) which has kept me fairly slug-like for nearly a year (though there is slow improvement), and
2)  The gym was bought by another company.  This meant my dues went UP while lesser quality spin bikes were purchased for the classes I have loved there.  The gym now has a very different vibe overall as well and really no longer has the same "pull" for me.

After all those years....
I have
shockingly, stopped. going. altogether.

I have been walking again, not as intensely as before, but I am getting there as my foot slowly re-adapts to stress and strain.  And as I have been walking I have been reflecting on my goals to live more simply and  sustainably and I have realized that an expensive gym membership no longer fits my needs nor my wants.  In fact, as important as my physical health is, this particular membership is excessive.

The truth is...
I live in a beautiful part of the country with amazingly mild weather.  I am surrounded by nature's playground.

Here is another phone picture from the top of our beach walk:

Gorgeous, right?  And there are numerous hikes right near our home.  Here is the top of the hike at breathtaking Crystal Cove:

And pretty Peter's Canyon, which offers both flat and hilly hiking....

When I am really pressed for time (read:often) , there are nice walking paths right outside my door!  I can easily get in a 3-4 mile walk with these paths in well-maintained suburbia:

(looking to the right steps from my driveway)

(looking to the left!)

(out the door and a few feet away!)

(about 5 miles away...and also close to an amazing french coffee shop!)

Oh, and I cannot forget that I am a swimmer!  The IronMan is a 2.4 mile swim, so I can't be too shabby, right?  Here is a regulation 25-yard pool about a 30 second walk from my front door!  It is heated 6-7 months of the year, and when I get there early enough I usually have to pool all to myself.  :)

(behind what looks like blue fencing are tennis courts as well, but let's not talk about tennis!)

There are also several pricey items in my garage gathering dust....
let's see....one especially nice bike...(the dark blue one hanging upside down here)...from when I was a cyclist not so long ago...

and a pre-owned stationary spin bike that I purchased on Craigslist about 18 months ago that would rival any spin bike in any gym in the country and I that I can use during the "cold" months when I am not swimming, walking or hiking...

and, uh, these (what are they again?) that my husband and older son will share:

So there you  have it.  For yoga or pilates or any other group instruction I may join a small, simple facility or gym, but for now I will be using my FREE stuff.  I will save TIME getting to the plush gym.  I will save GAS.  And I will save MONEY by forgoing the pricey dues as well as the gas.

I will miss some of the friends I have made there, but the closest of those I am in touch with anyway.


Any thoughts?  What do you do for exercise?



  1. What a beautiful place to exercise! I currently go to a local gym, but there is much wall staring and it can get a bit dull, however the weather in the UK is extremely unpredictable and few public areas to walk in.

  2. Hi! I saw you on Frugally Sustainable. I'm totally with you on the walking for free exercise. I walk at my local park with some of my mom friends while our children play.
    My suggestion on avoiding the gym is to exercise at home. I have been doing pilates at home by following the free (sort of) On Demand exercise programming that is part of my cable TV package. I only do 10 minutes a day because that's all I can fit in, but there are longer programs too. I love that I can choose different routines so that I don't get bored with the same 10 mintes over and over.
    Here's a link to my blog if you'd like to read about it http://bogogreenio.blogspot.com/2012/04/bogo-greenio-guide-to-eradication-of.html

  3. We have a treadmill that my 16yo daughter uses for interval running and I use mostly for walking. A power tower that we hang clothes on... lol. Neither she nor I have good enough upper body strength to do pull ups. I got it for the guys, who are slackers. ;) Daughter and I also do kettlebell workouts (DVD) which we both really like. If you are short on time you can still get a good workout in 12 minutes! (Lauren Brooks, our favorite)


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