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Consumer Reports: Getting fit without a gym

7:37 PM, Jan 21, 2013   |    comments
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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.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website. Subscribe to

(Copyright © 2013 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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