Five Ways to Save Money and Get Fit at Work

by Marie on January 13, 2012 · 27 comments

Now that the New Year is here, we are all looking for ways to trim down the expenses and the waistlines. Here are a few ideas on how to do that  before or after work or at lunch time.

Use Lunch

Get some exercise on your lunch break. Walking is always available.  Do interval walking by warming up, then walking faster, walking sideways, skipping and high stepping. Walk up hills, walk indoors, walk up the steps.  Then do a bit of slow walking to cool down.  During warm weather, bring a change of shirt or blouse.

If you work close to sports facilities, you may be able to use them for a reduced amount during the lunch hour.  My first job was downtown, right next door to the outdoor ice skating rink.  There was a lunch skate for a dollar plus skate rental.  I burned a lot of calories and had a great time learning how to skate!  Since it was winter, I didn’t get too sweaty.

Compete

A lot of companies participate in a competition called Corporate Challenge.  Around here, the events take place in the spring but the team’s are selected in the winter.  There are many different types of events including walking; horseshoes; tennis; basketball; baseball; fishing; bowling; darts; pool; track and field; trap shooting, tug of war and etc – just about anything you can imagine. Some of the events are are based on age – such as swimming and track events – so you may have more or less competition to get on a team based on how old you are.  Sign up, try out, practice with the team.  It will get you moving in the evenings and on weekends too!  I started jogging (slowly) when I was 55.  I was recruited for corporate challenge because the company had no other people my age willing to run in the track events.  I ran the quarter, half, mile and 5 k.  You better believe I did a lot of practicing the years I ran the Corporate Challenge!

Volunteer

Some companies sponsor volunteer activities involving their employees.  My last employer sponsored a company garden. Employee volunteers planted the seeds and plants, watered and tended the garden through out the year and then harvested the vegetables. The harvest went to the local food kitchen to help feed the homeless. The company got cudos for donating and for sponsoring a healthy employee initiative; the employees got educated on gardening concepts, got out of the office into the fresh air and got some exercise; the local homeless got healthy home grown vegetables.

Join a league of your own

My company also used to sponsor an employee bowling league.  They paid for all fees, including shoe rentals, the bowling fees and what ever other fees there were.  If you can avoid drinking the soda and beer and eating the burger and fries, you can have fun, build networks and get some exercise in a bowling league, or a baseball league or whatever your company may have available.  We went after work and bowled three games once a week.  I discovered that I suck at bowling, but I did get a bit of a workout – using some muscles I hadn’t in a while.  You might have to ask around a bit to find out about these sometimes hidden perks.

Bike it

Do you know how to ride a bike?  Do you have one?  Why not ride it to and from work?  Or at least ride it to and from a bus stop, then hop on the bus after putting your bike on the bus’s rack.  This is built in exercise – if your exercise is a normal and necessary part of your day, you will be consistent in doing it. Of course, you probably will need a place to freshen up before heading up to your cubicle or office.

What do you do to save money while getting fit at work?

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Happy Homeowner January 13, 2012 at 10:09 am

I bike to/from work for most of the year (sadly, New England winters typically prevent safe riding conditions from Jan-Mar), and I love the financial & fitness benefits of doing so. It also helps me prepare for the day and sets it with a good tone since I’m also benefiting from the exercise-induced endorphins. And it’s definitely a blessing that my office has a full shower suite because it’s a 10.5-11 mile ride each way…haha!

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2 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues January 17, 2012 at 8:54 pm

HH – I used to wish my workplace had a shower.

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3 krantcents January 13, 2012 at 11:05 am

Something I started a long time ago is bringing my lunch. It saves money and is healthier for you.

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4 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues January 13, 2012 at 11:07 am

Krantcents – I agree. I used to like to bring those little frozen lunches and heat them in the microwave.

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5 Robert @ The College Investor January 14, 2012 at 11:18 am

I don’t save that well, but I walk around all day to keep the metabolism up.

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6 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues January 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Robert, that is great. It helps (if you can work it in), to vary the intensity of walking.

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7 Jackie January 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

It sounds like the company you worked for was very proactive and offered a lot of things to their employees. I recently bought a pedometer and have been working at increasing the amount of walking I do. If I need to tell or ask someone something at work, I go over and do so in person to increase my steps.

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8 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues January 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Do you like your pedometer? I’ve considered buying one for years but never did.
Other ways of increasing activity levels are to shuck the remote at home and get up to change the channel. Go into the bank instead of to the ATM and etc.

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9 PKamp3 January 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Definitely concentrate on lunch – if you can either make it and bring it or make it there, you’re probably ahead. Any time you’re talking convenience food you’re usually talking high calorie.

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10 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues January 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

PKamp3 – I totally agree!

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11 101 Centavos January 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm

One thing I’ve started doing for the last few months is standing up at lunch. I generally eat at my desk and take care of some chores (writing, paying bills, reading), but I can do those standing up as well as sitting down. It’s a small thing, I know, but every little bit pays long-term dividends.

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12 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues January 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

I’ve never tried standing. I’ll be inerested to know the results of your new experiment.

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13 Neo January 16, 2012 at 7:01 am

One thing I try to do is go for a walk at lunch, even if it is a short walk around the block. It makes such a difference. Another idea is to bring your gym clothes to work and plan to go directly to the gym right at quitting time, instead of going home first. I find that if I stop home, I am toast…

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14 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues January 17, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Neo – yep, once you get home a whole other set of duties kick in!

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15 Squirrelers January 16, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Using the lunch hour, if you can pull it off, is a good time to get some exercise. It helps to be in a reasonable climate for that of course, but it’s especially good to do if sitting at a desk all morning. Good for health, good for productivity in the afternoon.

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16 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues January 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Squirrelers – I agree. I believe there have actually been some studies done showing increased productivity after mid-day exercise -or was it a nap? :)

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17 Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter January 17, 2012 at 11:04 am

I use my lunch hours to their full advantage. Every lunch slot each weekday I do something at the gym. Not only do I like the health benefits of the exercise but I also come out feeling better and often am more productive at my work than I would have been if I didn’t go. I am fortunate to have a gym at my work that I can use.

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18 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues January 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Miss T. Good for you!

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19 Harri @ TotallyMoney January 20, 2012 at 7:17 am

My boyfriend’s company use swiss balls instead of desk chairs, meaning that all of the employees get a serious core body workout throughout the day. I really, really wish we did that here!

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20 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues January 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm

What a neat idea. Wonder if you could ask your boss if they cared if you brought in your own and used it….

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21 Tessa January 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm

In order to keep my two resolutions for 2012 (being more financially responsible & losing weight) I’ve been walking to work when the weather allows. I’ve also found a walking trail quite close to my work so I’m going to start bringing my lunch and walking. Bonus points for finding an awesome bench overlooking a pretty pond for me to sit at and eat my lunch/read. It’s about a mile from work which gives me 40 minutes of walking there & back and 20 minutes to eat lunch.

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