3 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues On a Budget

Winter is once again upon us and by the feel of it, I’m thinking that a polar vortex or two may be just around the corner. For many of us, winter signals a time to hunker down at home, snuggle under a warm blanket, drink cups of hot chocolate, and eat our favorite comfort foods.

Consuming more calorie-high laden meals along with being less active, and for some, suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), can lead to unwanted weight gain during the winter months.

Some people look forward to participating in outdoor activities such as skiing, skating, or snowboarding, yet staying active during the winter doesn’t have to be a cold or expensive proposition. Here are some ways you can beat the winter blues and remain fit without draining your wallet.

Community Activities

Living in an area that has a local community center presents a potentially low cost fitness option. It’s not unusual for a leisure center to offer some or all of the following: a swimming pool, indoor tennis and badminton courts, an indoor track, and fitness classes, along with exercise equipment.

From my prior experience, community centers typically have a seasonal schedule for activities offered to local residents. Contact your local community facility to see what fitness services they provide, and the rates they may charge.

Exercise at Home

For the days when it’s just too cold to open the front door, let alone go for a walk or a run, exercise videos are a great alternative. They offer a wide variety of activities such as cardio boxing, yoga, Zumba, pilates and strength training.

The biggest benefit of exercise videos is being able to do them in the comfort of your own home, plus their low cost. You may already have some stacked in a corner!  In that case, dust them off and start using them. You can also strength train at home with just a few pieces of equipment, or simply use your body weight.

If you want to try something new, then either borrow an exercise DVD from family and friends, or check out sites like Craigslist or Freecycle. You might be able to score new or used ones at a bargain. YouTube also offers several channels by fitness experts who provide short exercise videos to follow online – for free.

Join An Inexpensive Gym

There are high end gyms with sauna and day spas where a monthly membership can set you back $75+ per month. Then you have the well kept but low-frills gym facilities. I subscribe to the latter, and in my case, I pay $20 per month, which includes both equipment access and fitness classes.

If you work for a company or attend a school that offers an on-site fitness facility, then you have hit the free fitness jackpot. Either way, working out at a gym during the winter not only helps to combat winter weight gain, but you will benefit from a little social interaction as well.

Decide on what type of activities you are more likely to engage in before signing on for a gym membership. Many gyms offer a free trial period, so take that opportunity to try out a few classes and equipment, and then evaluate the gym atmosphere to see it it’s a good fit for you.

Allow the above suggestions to inspire you to find exercise options to keep you positively warm during the winter months; without breaking a financial sweat!

What will you do this winter to stay active and healthy? How do you beat the winter blues?