There’s a lot about the Minimalist Movement I find attractive. I love the idea of intentionally living on less. Less stuff, less distraction, less hurry. That’s really appealing. It’s also one of the reasons I love walking for fitness.
This was never my motivation, but the benefits of this 20k One Year Step Challenge feel minimalist. Walking slows down the pace of life. It is a powerful stress reducer and gives me time to clear the clutter from my brain. I have more opportunity to focus on what’s really important and even be more creative.
I’m also saving a LOT of money.
This is a huge benefit I can use a couple ways. I have more money to invest, give away, or spend on other things I think are important. It is also income I don’t have to earn if I want to work less, but pursue a fit and healthy life.
Here’s how I’m saving money by walking for fitness.
No Gym Membership
This one is obvious. I don’t like walking on a treadmill so spending money on a monthly gym membership isn’t needed. Walking for fitness has made wherever I am my “gym”. I walk at home, at work, in the neighborhood, around cities like Baltimore and DC, at the park, on vacation, when I go to concerts, and games at the stadium.
I’m also saving money on gas by not having to drive back and forth to a gym. I can simply head outside for a walk in the neighborhood. And, this is a pretty powerful reminder that fitness is part of my lifestyle and not an “other” activity that’s separate from real life.
No Special Gear Needed
I spend nothing on special workout clothing. Thankfully, that doesn’t negate the fitness benefits of walking. I don’t need to look the part. I also don’t need any special gear. Walking for fitness does not require a bike, expensive machines, climbing equipment, or a pool. I also don’t need a helmet, padding, or protective eyewear.
But, Dave, don’t you need a Fitbit or some device to track your steps? Not really. If you walk for an hour your body is still getting the same fitness benefit whether you’re wearing a Fitbit or not. That said…having my new Fitbit Inspire HR makes it way more fun for me.
I also have a good pair of athletic shoes. They’re not special and I’d have them whether I’m walking for fitness or not.
Cut the Cord
Yes! We no longer have cable. I don’t spend nearly as much time sitting in front of the TV so it made no sense to keep paying an expensive cable bill. This serves as a double benefit because on those rare nights when I want to channel surf, I can’t…so I’m free to keep moving which adds to my fitness.
We do pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime, so the cable savings are mitigated a little bit. At one time we had all three…cable, Netflix and Amazon…until I got smart. Not paying an expensive cable bill might be one of the biggest cost savings of walking for fitness.
Pay Less for Parking
I have no problem parking far away and walking. Most of the time this isn’t a cost savings because the parking is already free. Thankfully, my grocery store hasn’t started charging, but, every now and then I’ll go to an event where parking ain’t free.
A couple years ago I saw U2 in concert and parked about a mile away. As I was walking towards the stadium I passed the parking lots where people paid close anywhere from $50 to $100. My parking cost me $5. I also got there early enough that I saw the band arrive.
That’s Bono in the SUV with the window down.
Fast Food GONE
I used to eat fast food a couple times a week. Now that I’m focused on fitness and healthier living I rarely eat out unless it’s a date with my wife Ava. I understand this is not a benefit for only those who walk for fitness, but it is for me so I’m counting it.
Just like the cable savings, this is a double benefit. Not only am I saving the cost of eating fast food, I’m also eating something healthier at home. An extra benefit is that I’ve dropped all soda from my diet too. Instead I drink water which is much less expensive.
Fun, But Cheap Dates
Ava and I love going to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor during the summer. We especially love Fells Point. We’ll grab dinner (which does cost money) and we walk along Harbor Walk and talk.
We’d much rather do this than go to a movie. We connect, we add fitness, and we aren’t spending (much) money. Walking gives us plenty of opportunities to spend time together while moving. We do the same thing on vacation. Instead of activities that cost money, we’d rather take long walks on the beach.
Yard Care Savings
Mowing the lawn is a fitness activity for me. That also makes it a great opportunity to save money. I have a simple gas powered push mower which is a LOT less expensive than a riding mower. We live on almost a half acre, so a riding lawn mower would make sense, but I’m not interested. I also don’t have to pay someone else to cut my grass every week for seven months. That’s a huge cost savings
Lower Doctor Bills?
I can’t make a direct connection between walking for fitness and how much I’m NOT spending for health care. It would be wrong and unethical. My good health might have more to do with genetics than how many steps I’m getting every day.
That said, it would also be dumb to say the two are NOT connected at all. I walk at least 20,000 steps every day and it’s pretty rare for me to spend money on health care except for preventative services like my annual physical.
This is also one of my deepest motivators for fitness. I want to age well and enjoy health freedom as long as possible. Of course, there are no guarantees. I could walk all day long and still develop serious health problems. It happens. But, I want to do everything I can to create and nurture a lifestyle that benefits my longterm health.
For now, all I can say is I walk for fitness and I’m giving very little money to doctors. You draw whatever conclusion you want from that.
I believe walking should be a part of everyone’s fitness journey. Even if you prefer running, swimming, CrossFit, weight training, or any other fitness activity, intentional walking can still be a part of what you’re doing.
Walking does not add to your fitness costs and it’s the one fitness activity you most likely will do for the rest of your life. Why not make it a part of your fitness journey now?
To help you get started I’ve put together a guide to reaching 10,000 steps. Even though 10,000 is the universally accepted daily goal, it’s not easy. This guide will help you get there.
This blog can also help you integrate walking into your fitness journey. If you FOLLOW (below on your phone…to the right and above if you’re reading on a computer) you’ll get the motivation you need to make fitness a part of your lifestyle.
Helping you Win at Fitness…One Step at a Time.