7 simple, cost-free ways for women to stay fit

theGRIO REPORT - It's two months away from resolution time. Women everywhere swear to take on monstrous workout regimens, with high out-of-pocket expenses...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

It’s two months away from resolution time. Women everywhere swear to take on monstrous workout regimens, with high out-of-pocket expenses. But, all you need in order to reduce your risk of heart disease is thirty minutes, five times a week — and it doesn’t have to be consecutive. It just has to add up.

So, forget January 1, try these seven simple cost-free ways to get moving today.

Run or power walk like you’re late.
You know the mad dash. You’re 10 minutes behind schedule. You missed the 6:50am train. Your flight is boarding now. Think of how fast your heart beats as you run and when you finally make it. So, even the days you’re on time, run or power walk to the train/plane/bus/work anyway.

You can also lower the bar to include less important destinations. Park far away and run from your car to the store, for example. Invariably, some old guy will yell, “Slow down, honey. Where’s the fire?” Keep on stepping anyway.

Play with the kids.
They don’t have to be your kids — just a kid. Beat an 8-year-old in a sprint down the street. Race your niece from the car to the house. Kick your legs back and forth on the swings. Jump rope. Join in while the little ones shoot hoops, even if you don’t know how. Or, follow the kids onto the jungle gym (extra points if you hang upside down from the monkey bars). As a kid, we didn’t go to the gym to stay fit, we played. So go play. And, don’t come home until the streetlights come on.

Go clubbing.
…or, to a lively wedding …or, a good salsa lounge. Take your pick. Dare yourself to stay on your feet all night, even if you have to two-step the whole time. Just one hour of low-impact dancing can burn 500 calories. Keep in mind that if you down three fruity drinks in that same hour, while you’ll still get the heart pumping, you might negate your calorie burn.

Take the stairs.
Vow to avoid elevators, escalators or those moving airport walkways for an entire month; longer if you can. Yes, that means attacking stairs everywhere — your apartment building, office building, doctor’s office, or your favorite shopping mall. If you’re on an outrageously high floor, say, the 45th, do as many as you can. Challenge yourself to make it to one higher floor every week.

Wear heels.
Heels that are too tall can damage the lower back. But, walking around in a reasonable-height heel can make for a pretty good workout. They’re flattering, and they help build calf and leg muscles. So, throw them on for an added boost during your walking and stair climbing. Balancing in them can also strengthen your core muscles.

Shop for groceries.
Here you have two options.

Option one: save grocery shopping for one big trip. Then, park the car far away from your house and make multiple trips. Carry just enough bags that it’s a challenge, but leave some behind so you have to make more trips than usual. Up and down stairs with the bags are a plus.

Option two is to grocery shop more often, in smaller quantities. Don’t use a shopping cart — carry one or two baskets instead. Carry them throughout the store, adding more weight as you go along. Don’t cheat by using the baskets with the wheels.

Look for community announcements
Community centers across the country are committed to getting their neighbors in shape. Most offer free classes — whether yoga, aerobics or Zumba. Some websites, like meetup.com, bring together different women who run boot camps in the park or who walk around local malls together.

These seven tips won’t change your routine or your funds, and might just increase your likelihood of sticking to your fitness resolutions.