26 Comments

  1. I knew I would like this article based on the title 😉

    After running a half marathon and doing better than expected, I decided to spring for a Garmin GPS watch (refurbished for somewhat of a frugal win). It tracks steps, but I can also track my runs and upload it to the app to see the route, distance, mile splits, and a ton of other stats. This has been surprisingly effective with my training and fitness… it is motivating and I really enjoy seeing the progress or even just the info it spits out.

    I also keep my YMCA membership active, partially because I have a gym credit from work but partially for the options and resources there. I like to workout outside or at home if possible, but when I need to switch it up or recover, the Y has classes (yoga, strength, HIIT), a pool, and 2 hour daycare included in the membership. It ends up being a lifesaver during the winter!!!

    • That membership sounds like a vacation! I’m so over this winter.

      It surprises me too how much I am interested in the Fitbit dashboard data. I’m trying to only focus on one or two aspects of it this month and go from there. (I’m also actively ignoring its reports on my sleep because no one needs that bad news.)

  2. You read my mind with this post! I generally try to pay as little as possible for exercise, and I haven’t belonged to a gym in years, but this year I started doing ClassPass, and it has forced me to exercise to avoid wasting money. (I also considered buying an expensive rower, but I figured it might end up gathering dust in the garage.) The cost is the main reason it works. Yesterday, instead of doing some pre-Superbowl/lazy Sunday lounging, I got myself out of the house to go to a yoga class. With two kids, their homework and activities, and a career, it gets hard to find time to do something for oneself. I’ve done 10,000 steps in the past, and it requires a real time commitment. But having a membership or pricey equipment harnesses my budget-consciousness toward the goal of fitness. Now that I’m in my 40s, I think it’s worth it!

    • I can’t even imagine, Frieda. Truly. One infant has been enough to throw my schedule into such a tailspin. Whatever it takes for you to focus on your health and balance everything else is worth it!

  3. Deb

    Most financial bloggers poo poo spending money on anything fitness related which I think can be a mistake. As I a former wellness coach, in general, I can tell you that If you don’t take care of your body now, it won’t take care of you later. It’s very similar to financial planning, imagine if you didn’t take the time to regularly invest in your 401k. Most bloggers will say just go walking, it’s free. Sigh. Life and your health are not that simple.

  4. Love my Fitbit! Well love/hate since yes, it tells me how little sleep I get sometimes (and I don’t have a kid as an excuse!) and even on days I get a TON of steps and pass my 10,000 step goal early on (especially days I go hiking), it still yells at me to get up and walk around in the evening when all I want to do is not move for the rest of the day. But it also tells me most days I average about 5 miles of walking, which I’m really proud of.

    So yes, I bought an expensive Fitbit. I also pay for a pricey barre membership. But I don’t regret any of that spending because health is wealth. And like you I’d rather spend my money years from now on things like traveling to Vegas instead of going to the doctor 😉

  5. I got a Fitbit back in September (for only $15 thanks to points!) and I love it. I knew that having a desk job was bad for me, but I didn’t realize just how bad until that little gadget on my wrist told me I was lucky to get 3,000 steps a day. No wonder I felt so “blah” all the time! I still struggle to hit the 10,000 steps a day, but I’m closer to it each day now that I’m paying attention!

    • I had a day of meetings followed by an evening meeting. I was so shocked at how few steps I got compared to a regular day in the classroom. It’s very eye-opening!

  6. I’m really of two minds here. On the one hand, I did a piece on the logic on Health = Money. Used some pretty sophisticated elementary school math to prove it. 🙂 So, it would make sense that investing in our health would also yield a financial benefit. I’m totally in touch with that (being an Oldster and all, I see first hand what health care, particularly prescription drugs can cost).

    The other side of this is that as I’ve aged (I’m right about 60), have known many people who have gotten to be in their 80’s and even 90’s. Honestly, there are very few of them, perhaps 5%, whose lives I would want to live. I think that we have gotten good at lengthening lives, but not commensurately increasing the quality of that longer life. As I approach those golden years, I wonder whether those few friends I have who went a bit earlier, but much faster, were not the luckier of my acquaintances.

    My apologies for getting off on the wrong track with my response. Perhaps my blog would be a more appropriate place for that discussion.

    • Deb

      I think most would agree with going quickly and painlessly is ideal, possibly even if it means shaving some time off the end. Investing in our health hopefully will increase the odds that our last years will be healthier, mobile, etc. I use to work with seniors, helping them implement healthier choices and the research shows even starting late improves outcomes. My investment in a treadmill & a $20 gym membership pay off regularly.

    • No apology needed, Oldster. What is my blog if not one big tangent? That’s where the best thinking happens, I think. My great aunt (who was feisty and lovely and the bluntest woman I knew) loved to say, “75 is more than enough.” She made it to her mid-80s in good health. My nana lived to 93 and was in excellent health. That is what I aspire to. Sadly, I’ve seen more of what you suggest. All the more reason to enjoy the now, right?!

  7. I am so glad you are investing in your health now. I wish I had done it when I was younger, but instead I am dealing with the consequences.

    My wife and I have an inexpensive gym membership, although to be honest she uses it a lot more than I do. Still, it provides me with incentive to exercise more, especially when we go together. I don’t have a Fitbit but I’m not sure that’s for me.

    Good luck with your fitness regimen.

    • Thanks, Gary! I don’t think it’s really about the Fitbit. It’s about finding what works for you. I love the idea of working out with someone. What a great way to stay accountable.

  8. I recently re-joined my gay soccer league. $80 bucks to play 7 games while also getting some aggression out in a healthy manner?!? Yes! I also know that I am highly extroverted and am more likely to move in ways that makes my body feel good if I am in a group activity.

    • That sounds awesome! I used to play volleyball in college and right after. A friend’s dad did maintenance for a church so we could use the gym. It wasn’t anything formal, but it was so much fun.

  9. I’m all for spending on your values, and what brings you joy – but I think gyms are one of the common aspirational spends, that people have but do not use.

    I’ve been a member of many gyms in the past, and never really used them.

    However, after taking up running I think that’s a more realistic and healthy approach for me, I’m happy to spend on running shoes and races, and love doing destination races.

    • I like these points, Ms ZiYou, and I think the key is that you’ve identified that running is the best approach FOR YOU.

      The best thing that I think everyone can do for their health is to find some sort of physical activity that they really enjoy, rather than, like you said, picking something aspirational. It doesn’t matter if you have a membership at the fanciest gym in town if you never go. Likewise, it doesn’t matter if your favorite activity isn’t 100% optimal for peak fitness. Finding something you enjoy and will stick to is far and away more important.

    • That was my problem, and that was why I canceled my gym membership. I never went! But the Fitbit seems to be working out well. Only time will tell!

  10. You go girl! It’s so true, I debated in circles for literal YEARS trying to avoid buying a FitBit, but really wanted it… a Target gift card finally got me to go for it, and I’m glad I did too! It really does help to buzz me every hour to get up and do a lap. And oh yes, I march in place while watching TV Almost every night now… winter is the worst for wellness, so at least it keeps me somewhat motivated to move. That $100 will payoff a thousandfold in your golden years, when you are still able to walk a flight of stairs unassisted, or walk a half mile without having to stop to catch your breath every few steps. I’m proud of you and your health awareness, this is a lifelong journey, keep it up!

    • Thank you! I’m glad I’m not the only one who was on the fence about a Fitbit. And I’m REALLY glad I’m not the only one who marches in place!

    • My biggest problem with just using my phone is that I don’t keep it with me consistently. It’s in my desk at work and I usually forget to carry it around. For a while, I thought that I didn’t care. I didn’t need to measure something that I already do (walk). But I get so much more out of it than I imagined. Not a sales pitch, though. If your phone works, stick with that!

  11. Buckeyecub

    For DH and I rec center membership is well used and worthwhile. There is small workout center at our condo but we can’t both bike at the same time. It also has indoor pool, lazy river, and hot tub. It has been wonderful to swim year round. We found we even preferred it in summer because we avoided sun.
    Also started tennis lessons through city parks and rec. While these things cost money we enjoy them and it keeps us accountable.

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