Recession-proof your fitness.

Aug 06

With these economic woes, fitness usually takes an unnecessary back burner. Sometimes, the last thing we think about is our health, and we pay for the consequences later (obesity-related illnesses like diabetes, depression and cancer). Making fitness a priority can be difficult on the pocketbook (for now, until reality bites), but it doesn’t have to be. Read on:

You have 1 life…and 1 body. If you plan on living past 65, and want to do so relatively pain-free, disease-free and remain mobile into your ‘golden years’ (though, at 78, my mom argues that they’re anything but golden), success is yours in the making. Obviously, quitting bad habits like smoking, eating sugar in excess or living a sedentary lifestyle are of utmost importance. Above that, prioritizing for a healthy life should be among the top 3 on your budget. Here’s how to get a discounted, low-cost, or free fitness-filled lifestyle:

  1. Check with your healthcare provider.  Some plans provide annual preventative health care reimbursements.  I’ve had clients ask for training receipts so they can get money back on training.  READ THE FINE PRINT!
  2. Check with your employer. Some companies partner with fitness centers and provide discounted gym memberships, free or low-cost fitness and wellness classes as well as on-site nutritional and lifestyle guidance. Don’t let these freebies pass you by!
  3. Are you a retiree? My parents (who are 78 & 83) are members of the not-so-exclusive Silver Sneakers club, whereby they get a free gym membership at their local gym and, if they attend more than twice/week, the gym makes a small commission, so everybody wins when they use it!
  4. Many fitness centers offer discounts for students, dancers and other fitness professionals.  Inquire within: what’s the worst thing they can say: no? What if they tell you that you’re eligible for the ‘cool people discount’?  Always ask.
  5. Seasonal promotions.  Summertime is slow for many fitness centers and they always offer summer specials for new members.  Wait until the end of the month, when deals are about to expire and their salespeople are under pressure to make end-of-month numbers. Paying for a year up front? Ask for freebies, like discounted or free training sessions or massages. Again, if you don’t ask, you may never know…right?
  6. Buy in bulk. If you know you’re going to be getting 6 massages in the next year, buy them all up-front for an added discount. Remit the receipt to your accountant or health insurance company for a write-off or reimbursement.
  7. Have a fitness expert in your life but are at risk of losing them due to budget cuts? Sit them down, have a talk and ask for a discount. Many fitness professionals are more than happy to work with your budget for a specific amount of time until you’re ‘out of the woods’ financially. Open your mouth and ask.
  8. Budget for your lifestyle!  Prioritize!  Do you eat out?  Cut back on less important things like happy hour, retail therapy or that spendy tasting menu. Schedule your life around health, wellness and happiness!

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