Exercises for Broke-Asses by Dena Stern of

Updated: Aug 06, 2011 11:15
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This article is courtesy of Dena Stern of and a former Broke-Ass of the Week.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010 over two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. That means that more people in this country are now overweight than not – a terrifying statistic for anyone who’s ever had to sit in a middle seat on an airplane or tried to ride muni during rush hour.

Let’s face it for all of us out there on a budget a big mac is a lot cheaper than organic broccoli. A gym memberships cost $95 a month… and who has really has $15 to spend on a single yoga class?!?

But even if you’re not obese or overweight yet, if we Americans keep eating the way we’re eating and not exercising we will continue growing. United Nations FAO says the average American consumes 3770 calories per day – that’s over 1,000 calories more than we’re supposed to be eating!

The average mission burrito has about 1,500 calories – about what a 5’5 woman should consume in one day. I’m not suggesting you give up your burritos (oh heck no!) but I am suggesting that you might think about exercising more to make up for that habit.

If your health (and your body!) isn’t enough to motivate you to start exercising there are serious financial implication to consider as well:

Overweight people spend more money on healthcare but people who exercise get sick less! Obesity in the United States now rings up a total of $147 billion per year in direct medical costs. In fact if you’re obese expect to spend almost $1,500 more each year on health care — about 41 percent more than an average-weight person.

Even if you’re not overweight you can cut your healthcare costs with exercise. Normal weight people who complete at least 45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (such as walking) most days of the week can expect a 25% to 50% decrease in sick time over their non-exercising counterparts!


Exercising suppresses your appetite and makes you a “better eater”.

A recent study found that 60 minutes of cardio exercise increased the levels of appetite suppressing hormones while decreasing the level of appetite increasing hormones.


Eating when you’re truly hungry, instead of when you’re just hormonal and craving junk, isn’t just good for your shrinking waistline – it’s good for your shrinking wallet too.


Best of all regular exercise doesn’t just make you eat less – it also makes you eat better. In fact studies have linked regular yoga practice with “mindful eating”; being aware of why you are eating and stopping when you’re full.  People who eat mindfully are less likely to be obese (see #1 above).


Buying new (bigger) clothes is expensive. Enough said.

There are other wallet friendly benefits to being fit – fit people get more drinks purchased for them and are offered more free meals as well as other nifty prizes (I’m making this up but empirical evidence suggests its true).

Best of all there are so many cheapskate friendly, fun and awesome ways that you can get super fit for freezy!

These are some of my favorites:

  • Sign up for a free online exercise program: These nifty programs come complete with daily routines, calorie tracking and even handy daily email reminders. Also all of the workouts can be done in your living room using water bottles filled with playground sand so you don’t even have to pay $5 for hand weights.
  • Go for a run (or a walk) There are some really awesome (free) tools to help you find fun/challenging routes to explore in your town.
  • Go for a hike it’s like a walk/run but in nature and it makes a cheaper, healthier weekend activity than brunch (and an awesome date).
  • Play on a Playground You can either get serious about it with a playground workout or just get silly and run around and hang from things…
  • Dance Your Tush Off Find a club, wear comfy shoes and dance hard – you’ll get an awesome cardio workout that also works your core (just pretend you’re Shakira).


Whatever you do – just get moving!

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Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe

Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe

Laura S, left the "sixth borough" three years ago to settle in Brooklyn. After working at some daily rags, she now does writing on the side but still eats more Ramen then necessary. When she's not moving residences every 6 months, eating her way through every neighborhood, and trying every microbrew known to man, she is unsuccessfully rediscovering home economics. With her binging days behind her, she's now exploring new projects and rediscovering the city that she loves (although is still prone to sliding on her knees during a Prince karaoke set).