NAMI
National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Everyday Exercise

NAMI Hearts & Minds offers these additional suggestions as fun and low-cost fitness ideas.

Inexpensive sneakers

One of the most important parts to getting off your couch and exercising is ensuring that you don't hurt yourself. A good pair of sneakers plays a big role in this, especially if you're going to be running, walking or biking. But good sneakers don't necessarily have to be incredibly expensive. Payless Shoe Source's Amp Sneakers cost in the $35 range for both men and women and can rival any pair of $100 Nikes. Wal-Mart, Target and Eastbay.com also offer low-cost exercise sneakers by several brands. Shop sales and you will find options for even less.

Every little bit counts

Park a little further away in the supermarket parking lot, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off one bus or subway stop sooner than normal or do an extra lap around the mall. Sneaking in even a few extra steps may not feel like it, but it still counts as exercise.

Be creative

You don't need special expensive equipment to get yourself exercising. Use household items such as cans or plastic milk containers as weights. Do push-ups while you're watching TV or follow along to an exercise video. Try gardening, doing housework, dancing to your favorite music or taking a few extra steps to the mailbox. Exercise comes in many forms. Be creative and improvise-you may be surprised to find how easy it is to work out using household items that you already own.

Exercise for charity

It is possible to exercise for a good cause. Find a cause you care about and get involved. NAMIWalks is happing in nearly 80 communities around the country raising funds and awareness for mental illness and would be an ideal way to get involved while getting healthy.. Visit The Walking Site to find other charity walks near you.

Find a workout buddy

Finding someone who shares your exercise expectations is a great way to get motivated and make exercising more fun. If you want to run, Nike coordinates group runs all over the country with their Nike+ program. They even list training tips on their Web site, and the best part is that membership is free. If running isn't your style and you still need help finding an exercise buddy, check out online resources such as www.meetup.com for ideas and opportunities.

You can find friends for all different types of exercise, and all you have to do is type in your interest and zip code. This Web site can also be used for finding others who share any interest, not just exercise, and are located in your area. Safety first: you should always be mindful and cautious when meeting people on the Internet.

Check your insurance plan

Some health insurance coverage, including various Medicare and Medicaid plans, will pay for all or part of a gym or health club membership. Check with your provider and see if this option is available for you.

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