Staying Fit When You’re Unemployed: 6 Tips to Stay Sane and Healthy

There are a lot of folks out of work these days.  If you factor in the underemployed and those that have simply given up looking, some estimates go as high as 20 percent of the workforce.

Here are some ideas on how to use this time to stay fit and do so without spending too much …

Keep a workout schedule. It’s easy to slide into bad habits when your unemployed.  Depression might be sneaking up on you, and knowing you have “all day” might mean you wind up “never getting to it.”  Try to workout early in the day and commit to a daily fitness regimen.  The exercise will give you energy, keep you motivated in other areas of your life, and help you look great for an interview.  It will also help to keep your sleep regulated.

Fitness networking. If your budget allows you to afford a gym membership or a local fitness class, consider it an opportunity to network.  Try working out at dawn when the executives are in the gym.  Be friendly and approachable and you just might snag a job from the guy sweating next to you on the treadmill.   Don’t overlook the fitness staff either; they might have a client looking for a new employee and could tip you off.  My studio has personally connected four people over the past couple of years with another client looking to hire.

Think feet. The cheapest form of exercise is putting one foot in front of the other so go for a daily walk or jog.  Try MapMyRun to see how far you’re going and track your progress on  Both programs are free and the Daily Mile has a great community where you can meet other people and share your workouts.

Try the library.  Your local public library is chock full of free goodies.  Don’t just focus on the latest books on exercise and eating right; think about magazines like Runner’s World and Women’s Health as well as exercise DVDs.  My local library has all the latest titles and most people don’t think about checking them out so they are always available.  If you find one or two that you really like, you can buy them later knowing that you’ve made a good investment.

Hiking. Communing with nature keeps your stress levels down and most local trails are absolutely free.  Think about adding a strenuous hike at least once a week to stay fit and centered.  You can even practice your interview skills while on the trails.  Think of some tough interview questions and how you would answer them.  Or just chill and enjoy the local flora and fauna.

Mind/Body work. Either through local classes or DVDs or even online, add some mind/body work into your exercise routine.  It will help keep you calm and centered and, let’s face it, it’s pretty stressful to be unemployed. Mind/body work can help you keep an upbeat perspective.  Try yoga or Pilates or even tai chi (you can sometimes find free groups participating in tai chi in your local parks).  For studio work, yoga is often the cheapest, as low as $10 a class.

Share your fitness tips below and let’s get a great discussion going.  I hope this helps you stay upbeat and maybe even snag a job.