Sunday, December 28, 2008

Staying sane, slim (I wish) and solvent

Experts say - and those of us going through it, know - that it is important to get into and stay in shape while you job hunt.

You know why. A morning walk or run is a good time to clear your head for the day. You want to look as good as you can at your next job interview. And regular exercise is a proven stress cutter plus its cheaper than tapping COBRA benefits.

So how do you afford to stay healthy? Gym memberships, for which you can pay $50 to $200 up front plus $30 to $50 a month after that, will eat the heart out of an unemployment check. Kansas City area YMCAs were waiving $150 sign-up fees this weekend, but still run almost $90 a month for a couple. (They will consider scholarships if you are really strapped for cash.)

Rigging up your own home gym doesn't seem realistic either. Those TV ads hawking multi-thousand dollar gym sets can be pretty mum about how long those monthly payments really stretch.

We have choices, though. Experts at the Mayo Clinic calculate you can do just as well by shelling out less than one month of gym membership costs for a jump rope, some hand-held weights and some resistance tubing. Just use your imagination and look for ways to insert more physical activity into your daily routine. Blogger Jennifer G on suggests getting your small children into the act too. They are going to keep you hopping anyway.

Looking around for exercise programs on TV or low cost programs in your community will help stretch your resources further, say posters on Fitness guru and former Navy SEAL Stew Smith insists you can get really ripped for not a lot of money.

Maybe, maybe not. But for starters, I'm going to take another look at that $4 jump rope I saw in Target's sporting goods section.

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