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Get in Shape Economically

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By Susannah Patton

Getting in great physical shape can wreak havoc on your budget.

With monthly gym memberships, expensive home equipment and pricey fitness classes, the price tag that comes with a hard body can derail even the most determined of exercisers. But getting fit doesn’t mean you have to spend big bucks if you’ve got a little bit of an imagination and a healthy dose of willpower.

According to certified personal trailer, Sharina Watkins, some of the most effective workouts require little to no equipment and can be done in the backyard, at the park or in your living room.

“Any total body exercise, such as squats, lunges and push-ups, will build muscle and get the heart rate up,” Watkins said.

These exercises are ideal because they utilize large muscle groups and can be done virtually anywhere.

Best Buys

There are also relatively inexpensive pieces of equipment that have big payoffs.

If you’re going to spend a little bit of money, Watkins said your best investments are a stability ball ($15 to $30 on amazon.com) and a set of dumbbells ($30 to $60 on amazon.com).

With these items, you can do a variety of exercises on your living room floor.

A stability ball is especially versatile, Watkins said, because it can be used for push-ups, crunches, hamstring curls and more. Combine it with dumbbells and you’ve got a bench for bicep curls, shoulder presses and chest presses. By balancing on the ball while doing these basic exercises, you’re also working your abdominal muscles.

The key to working out at home is sticking with a routine.

The biggest obstacle people encounter in getting fit at home is not having the discipline to workout consistently.

“The best advice I can give someone is to get a training partner and an exercise log,” she said.

Take it Outside

One of the best ways to get in shape is to get outside. You don’t need to be in a gym lifting weights to loud classic rock in order to get a good workout.

A playground can be a great substitute for the gym.

You can use the monkey bars to do pull-ups, Watkins said, or use the steps for step-ups, box jumps and triceps dips.

A jump rope ($6 to $13 on amazon.com) is one of the best pieces of workout equipment you can buy. It’s one of the best cardiovascular exercises there is and also improves endurance, coordination and agility.

Jumping jacks is another effective exercise, Watkins said, and requires nothing but a little floor space.

High school tracks are also great locations for getting in shape. You can lunge across the field, run sprints on the track or run up and down the stadium stairs. Add some sit-ups and push-ups in between and you’ve got a full-body workout.

While saving on monthly gym memberships, Watkins suggests investing in a moderately priced bicycle and hitting the trails.

Fayetteville offers 16 miles of paved trails and there are 5.5 miles of mountain bike trails at Lake Fayetteville.

Rogers also offers walking, jogging and biking trails, including the 3.8-mile Lake Atalanta Trail and the 6.6-mile Turtle Creek Trail.

The Bentonville Trail system consists of three trails within Memorial Park, Lake Bella Vista and Park Springs Park, totaling about 20 miles.

By taking advantage of what these cities offer in trails and parks, not having a gym membership is no excuse for not getting in shape.

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