There are a lot of predictions associated with the start of a new year, and 2018 is no exception. So-called experts come out of the woodwork to predict everything from the stock market to whether or not Meghan Markle will wear white at her wedding to Prince Harry. One thing we can for sure count on, though? There will be gym and fitness center ads all over the place in the first quarter of 2018. We’ll be inundated with them everywhere we go. They’ll be on our TV, in our email boxes, and on the radio when we drive to work. Gyms know the new year is their best chance to sign up new customers, and they’re not willing to let the opportunity to go to waste. So what do you do if you want to improve your physical fitness level without letting a gym automatically take money out of your bank account once a month?

Group sports

Most of us think we’ve outgrown group sports once we reach legal voting age. Sure, a few people can play sports in college, but very few people can play sports professionally. We may like to watch team sports, but playing them? It’s not as far-fetched an idea as it might seem at first glance. You don’t have to be an all-star athlete to form a team, either. You need a few things. First, you need to figure out the sport and buy the right equipment. If it’s basketball, you’ll need a playing court and some balls. If it’s softball, then you’ll need a field, some bats, and some balls. Something like Demarini slowpitch softball bats are a good bet for beginners, but the specific brand you pick is up to you and your fellow players.

Once you’ve got all that, you need some comfortable athletic clothes and halfway decent sneakers, and then you’re ready to play. Don’t make the stakes too high at first; you may not even want to keep score the first time you step on the field or court. Make having fun your first goal, and the rest of it will come in time.

Swimming pools

The thing about gyms is that they’re generally full of people. If you want to avoid people while you work out, then it’s possible that team sports isn’t the way to go. In that case, you could try something like jogging, which is cheap and relatively easy. But if you have a little more money and enough space, you can go all out and buy your very own swimming pool. January isn’t too early to start thinking about installing a pool. In fact, doing the research now could mean you’ll be ready to install the pool by April or May.

Swimming is a low-impact workout; you’re literally floating your way to better cardiovascular health. Taking laps around the pool a few times a week is a great way to focus both your mind and body on the task at hand and let everything else melt away. You’ll get all those happy endorphins without wrecking your knees or ankles. A pool is a big investment, but if you’ve done the prep work and know it’s what you want, it can serve as a source of both fitness and relaxation for years to come.


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