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Hit the trails, start training at home; exercise isn’t costly

By Dave Edmark
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts:

  • People can follow exercise programs without expensive equipment, clubs
  • Cardio workouts are important components of exercise
  • Classes are available from Cooperative Extension Service   

(377 words)

LITTLE ROCK – There’s no need to be wary of a personal fitness program because of the costs of gym memberships or exercise equipment. Fitness routines can cost little to nothing if people look for the right options, said Laura Hendrix, assistant professor of family and consumer sciences at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. 

“Research shows that regular exercise is critical for maintaining good health and can help reduce the risks for heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other major illnesses,” Hendrix said. “Starting an exercise program doesn’t have to be expensive.” 

Anyone starting an exercise program should prepare first. “It’s important to warm up before any type of exercise,” said Lisa Washburn, assistant professor of health in the Division of Agriculture. “Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.” 

Hendrix offered these suggestions for pursuing fitness without spending large sums:

  • Walk, run, hike – Cardio workouts should be part of a fitness routine and a good pair of running shoes is important for use on the trails. Beginning runners and walkers should ease into the sport and consult training schedules online or check into clinics for beginners offered by some running groups. At home, exercisers can get their heart rates up by doing jumping jacks, high knees and jump squats.
  • Strength training – Body weight exercise is another effective home fitness routine that includes push-ups, crunches, side planks and dips. A set of free weights is good for doing bicep curls, squats and lunges. “Stretch bands add resistance to work most muscle groups and they are easy to pack so a business trip or vacation doesn’t derail your exercise routine,” Hendrix said.
  • Flexibility – Yoga, stretching and balance routines can be easily accommodated into a regular daily schedule. Hendrix recommended using smartphone apps, website and online videos to find exercises that develop flexibility and balance. These exercises don’t require equipment but yoga mats are optional and available at most athletic and discount department stores.
  • Low-cost or no-cost classes – The Cooperative Extension Service offers Extension Get Fit in almost every county in the state for $12 a year for twice-weekly classes. Handouts and posters of exercises are available from Extension Get Fit online at Local libraries and community centers may offer other options.


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.



Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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