(Consumer Reports) -- Getting more exercise is a top New Year’s resolution. And you can do that without going to a high-priced gym. All you need are a few inexpensive props and a good fitness routine to get started.
Take a stability ball. It can help build your core strength and improve your balance. You can also use it to tone your glutes and legs. Its cost is about $30.
An instant cardio workout is jumping rope for 15 minutes. A jump rope with nonslip foam handles is the best. The price is about $6. Or you can try hula hooping. Not only is it a good cardio exercise but it’s also great for your core! A hula hoop costs about $6.
Elastic bands or tubes are also great items to have. You can use them for resistance training to strengthen and tone your muscles. They start at about $8.
Also handy is an exercise mat. The extra cushioning is helpful for push-ups and other exercises you do on the floor. A mat is about $20.
And free weights are another useful tool. A pair costs $10 to $60. If you can, buy two pairs—a lighter pair to work your arms and shoulders, and a heavier pair to work your back and chest.
To develop a good exercise routine with aerobic exercise, aim for 30 minutes five days a week. And do strength training two to three days a week.
Another great form of exercise that doesn’t have to cost a thing is plain old walking. If the weather’s not great, walk at the mall. Just be sure to skip the food court! A pedometer is handy for tracking how much you walk. You can buy one for $20 to $30, or buy a pedometer app for your phone for around $4.