January 7, 2016 8:20 pm
Updated: January 8, 2016 9:41 am

Why you can’t afford not to exercise during tough economic times

WATCH ABOVE: January is the time of year that many people resolve to get fit but this year in Calgary many people are also facing new financial realities. Heather Yourex-West has some tips that won’t break the bank.

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CALGARY – Carla Morris is used to overcoming obstacles. The Calgary woman has already lost over 100 pounds. But last year Morris found herself facing a new challenge. Like thousands of others in Alberta, Morris’ husband lost his job.

“It’s been a little bit tough when you experience that drop in family income but we’ve made some adjustments.”

Morris admits she no longer has the money to continue working with a personal trainer one-on-one but she’s found other ways to keep moving.

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“I realized that I spend $1,000 a year at Starbucks. I don’t need to do that since that’s an awful lot of small group training sessions or boot camp classes that I could do instead.”

Mental health professionals say in times of stress, like Calgary’s current economy, exercise is critical.  Especially for those who have experienced job loss.

“The research is really clear, the first line of treatment for depression and stress is exercise and talk therapy,” said Robbie Babbins-Wagner, CEO of the Calgary Counselling Centre.

Lean times mean not everyone can afford to hire a trainer or join a gym.

Fortunately there are plenty of low cost or free options to work up a sweat.

“Living in Calgary, we have so many things to do. You can go snowshoeing, you can go for a hike or you can go cross country skiing,” said Kevin Smith, Fitness Trainer and Owner of Body Be Fit. 

“Body weight exercises are also great if you’re on a budget and you can’t afford dumbbells.

“Anyone can do push ups, sit ups or pull ups. If you add a few resistance band exercises to make things harder, you can get a full body workout.”

YMCA Calgary is also offering more support this year for Calgarians struggling financially. For the first time ever, the organization is waiving its $75 joining fee and fees have been lowered for young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

If people are still unable to afford the facility’s fees, VP of Operations, Shannon Doram says additional assistance is available.

“We know that people are struggling out there right now and we want to be sensitive to that need.  If people are unable to pay fees, we welcome them to come in and have a discussion with us about how we can help them out.”

© 2016 Shaw Media

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