Tall Drink of Nerd: Recession Recess

 In *Archives, Amy Robinson
Monkey Bars

Bars for Monkeys

One of the perks of being “funemployed” is that you have all the time in the world to work out and be healthy. Now that my husband has joined me in funemployment, I have a workout partner. Because neither my workout partner nor I have an income, we have cut our expenses down to the necessities; food, Internet, beer and shelter. That means we’ve opted out of our gym membership.

There are dangers to unemployment, including ennui, feeling disconnected, boredom and depression. Working out can fight these. Even if you are still employed, but with more pressure, less pay and more responsibilities because the guy next to you got cut, working out will keep you sane. Getting your sweat on, in these crazy times, is vital.

Seen and I have become creative in our fitness pursuits and I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some of our free/cheap ways to keep your mind centered and your butt from couch potato-ing.

Try the park! Every town has a park with fresh air and ample workout opportunities. We’ve taken advantage of local jogging paths in the last 3 places we’ve lived. I tend to jog until my lungs cave in, about 3 minutes, and then walk at a healthy pace. If your park is just grassy lawn stuff, try wind sprints in those areas. That should get your heart rate up, your lungs burning, and it’ll transport you back in time to 10th grade PE, when you thought the coach was just a sadistic jerk who liked to see teenagers hyperventilate.

My sister from Kansas showed me the best tool to use in a park workout. It’s called FitDeck. It’s basically a deck of cards with loads of exercises for every inch of your jiggly body. I have the Body Weight version, which I got on Amazon for $14. Every time we’ve used cards, we’re amazed at how sore we become without the aid of free-weights or machines. FitDeck has about a dozen different versions, for all different kinds of peeps. There’s a new mom with strollers version, there’s a stretch version (kind of like yoga), there’s an office version, which I intend to purchase if I am gainfully employed in the near future.

Fit Deck Card is harder than it looks.

Fit Deck Card is harder than it looks.

(More free workouts after the jump…)

Every park should also have some monkey bars. (You may also refer to this as a jungle gym, but I like monkeys…) Try pull-ups and chin-ups on that contraption. It’s not as easy as it looks. I am okay with the fact that I look ridiculous when I’m doing these exercises. I’ve got all the strength of a 1-week old kitten. My arms tend to move about 1/8th of an inch as I grunt through pull-ups and chin-ups, but I’m sore as heck the next day. I must be doing something in there.

If your park is heavily trafficked by children and there is no other park close by, I highly recommend getting up as early as possible to hang out on the playground before the kiddies get there. I always feel a little odd doing chin ups next to a 5 year old who is hanging by her knees.

My last suggestion for free fitness is the podcasts at YogaJournal.com. The good folks at Yoga Journal are seriously building their good karma column. They offer both video and audio of classes. You can turn on the computer and play it, or download the class onto your iPod and head over to the park for some nature yoga. They have about a dozen, 20-minute classes each with a different focus (strength, balance, relaxation). I love yoga, but had to put that expense aside, this is the next best thing.

There are a lot of other things going on for free, it varies by town. My town has free yoga every Saturday morning at 8:30. We also have city tennis courts that rent for $2 an hour. Check our what your town has for you on the cheap. Please share any other ideas/experiences you have with free fitness with us here at FaN and with your friends. Even if you are broke, keep moving, stay sane, and be healthy.


Broke but Fit and Zen

Broke but Fit and Zen

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Showing 18 comments
  • janicpanny

    I inspired you to inspire me! I need to move it move it. All thanks the free personal trainer sessions through my workplace that proved you don't need a gym to get strong & healthy. She also told me anyone could go on the net and find plenty of free non-gym strength training exercises. So, there's another economical idea. Happy monkeybarring.

  • janicpanny

    I inspired you to inspire me! I need to move it move it. All thanks the free personal trainer sessions through my workplace that proved you don't need a gym to get strong & healthy. She also told me anyone could go on the net and find plenty of free non-gym strength training exercises. So, there's another economical idea. Happy monkeybarring.

  • janicpanny

    I inspired you to inspire me! I need to move it move it. All thanks the free personal trainer sessions through my workplace that proved you don't need a gym to get strong & healthy. She also told me anyone could go on the net and find plenty of free non-gym strength training exercises. So, there's another economical idea. Happy monkeybarring.

  • janicpanny

    I inspired you to inspire me! I need to move it move it. All thanks the free personal trainer sessions through my workplace that proved you don't need a gym to get strong & healthy. She also told me anyone could go on the net and find plenty of free non-gym strength training exercises. So, there's another economical idea. Happy monkeybarring.

  • ernessa

    I adore the idea of working out on the monkey bars. another suggestion would be hikes. i don't like hiking myself, but hiking paths are free and plentiful around la. i also love fit tv if you have cable and hate the outdoors as i do.

    i'm definitely going to buy those new mom fit cards though. how nifty!

  • ernessa

    I adore the idea of working out on the monkey bars. another suggestion would be hikes. i don't like hiking myself, but hiking paths are free and plentiful around la. i also love fit tv if you have cable and hate the outdoors as i do.

    i'm definitely going to buy those new mom fit cards though. how nifty!

  • ernessa

    I adore the idea of working out on the monkey bars. another suggestion would be hikes. i don't like hiking myself, but hiking paths are free and plentiful around la. i also love fit tv if you have cable and hate the outdoors as i do.

    i'm definitely going to buy those new mom fit cards though. how nifty!

  • ernessa

    I adore the idea of working out on the monkey bars. another suggestion would be hikes. i don't like hiking myself, but hiking paths are free and plentiful around la. i also love fit tv if you have cable and hate the outdoors as i do.

    i'm definitely going to buy those new mom fit cards though. how nifty!

  • seen

    Just to reinforce what Amy said, she does look ridiculous when she's doing her exercises. (I'm just kidding, she looks sexy, but she's too modest to say that), but it's not about how you look, it's about feeling better and I can tell you that nothing makes you feel better than getting out in the fresh air. Here's a website and podcast to prove it. http://www.alleghenyfront.org/story.html?storyid=
    I've been suffering with some really bad muscle pulls, but I still prefer going to the monkey bars than not. I just have to stretch more, which is good for me anyway.

    Happy playing!
    Amy's workout disciple.

  • seen

    Just to reinforce what Amy said, she does look ridiculous when she's doing her exercises. (I'm just kidding, she looks sexy, but she's too modest to say that), but it's not about how you look, it's about feeling better and I can tell you that nothing makes you feel better than getting out in the fresh air. Here's a website and podcast to prove it. http://www.alleghenyfront.org/story.html?storyid=
    I've been suffering with some really bad muscle pulls, but I still prefer going to the monkey bars than not. I just have to stretch more, which is good for me anyway.

    Happy playing!
    Amy's workout disciple.

  • seen

    Just to reinforce what Amy said, she does look ridiculous when she's doing her exercises. (I'm just kidding, she looks sexy, but she's too modest to say that), but it's not about how you look, it's about feeling better and I can tell you that nothing makes you feel better than getting out in the fresh air. Here's a website and podcast to prove it. http://www.alleghenyfront.org/story.html?storyid=
    I've been suffering with some really bad muscle pulls, but I still prefer going to the monkey bars than not. I just have to stretch more, which is good for me anyway.

    Happy playing!
    Amy's workout disciple.

  • seen

    Just to reinforce what Amy said, she does look ridiculous when she's doing her exercises. (I'm just kidding, she looks sexy, but she's too modest to say that), but it's not about how you look, it's about feeling better and I can tell you that nothing makes you feel better than getting out in the fresh air. Here's a website and podcast to prove it. http://www.alleghenyfront.org/story.html?storyid=
    I've been suffering with some really bad muscle pulls, but I still prefer going to the monkey bars than not. I just have to stretch more, which is good for me anyway.

    Happy playing!
    Amy's workout disciple.

  • manhatin

    I love your brand of "funemployment"!! Congrats, right? Your turned in your gym membership and I turned in my cable box (http://manhatin.blogspot.com/2009/07/returning-be… I have not worked steady in a year! And no end in sight. Working out is good for many reasons during hard times: maintaining physical health, aiding in good mental health, and creating a rock solid bod just in case you have to turn into a hooker for cash.

  • manhatin

    I love your brand of "funemployment"!! Congrats, right? Your turned in your gym membership and I turned in my cable box (http://manhatin.blogspot.com/2009/07/returning-be… I have not worked steady in a year! And no end in sight. Working out is good for many reasons during hard times: maintaining physical health, aiding in good mental health, and creating a rock solid bod just in case you have to turn into a hooker for cash.

  • manhatin

    I love your brand of "funemployment"!! Congrats, right? Your turned in your gym membership and I turned in my cable box (http://manhatin.blogspot.com/2009/07/returning-be… I have not worked steady in a year! And no end in sight. Working out is good for many reasons during hard times: maintaining physical health, aiding in good mental health, and creating a rock solid bod just in case you have to turn into a hooker for cash.

  • manhatin

    I love your brand of "funemployment"!! Congrats, right? Your turned in your gym membership and I turned in my cable box (http://manhatin.blogspot.com/2009/07/returning-be… I have not worked steady in a year! And no end in sight. Working out is good for many reasons during hard times: maintaining physical health, aiding in good mental health, and creating a rock solid bod just in case you have to turn into a hooker for cash.

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