Exercise on the Cheap

Published on February 26th, 2014

We know the importance of regular exercise for our bodies and minds, but it is difficult to cough up the high monthly cost of gym memberships. Fortunately, there are other options for you to burn off the calories while keeping money in your pocket.


Running burns a lot of calories, gives you great leg muscles, and best of all you can do it just about anywhere. Many parks have running and walking trails and many high schools let people use their track after school for free. You can also run on sidewalks or the street, but make sure you are aware of traffic.


Walking gives you good cardiovascular and calorie-burning benefits but is less intense than running. And similarly to running you can do it anywhere. Start or join a walking club to get the same social aspect that you would at a gym.


Community rec centers, like the YMCA, have cheap monthly membership fees and some even offer free memberships to local residents. They have workout equipment, indoor pools, basketball courts and running trails, along with facilities you can use and classes to take for an additional fee should you choose to.


Take advantage of good weather with nighttime tennis games or Saturday morning basketball games. Many parks have courts open to the public for free.


A lot of cities have local amateur sports teams you can join for a modest fee. Most teams allow anyone to sign up and you play an average of one game per week through the season. You may need to purchase your own equipment, but it is a one-time expense rather than a charge each month. Find a thrift store that sells used sporting equipment like Play It Again Sports.


You can buy relatively cheap exercise videos in discount stores and online. They cover all kinds of workouts such as yoga, step aerobics and Tae Bo. As long as you have a big enough space in your home, you can get a good exercise in the privacy of your house at your own convenience. Many public libraries have workout videos you can rent for free. You can also find free workout videos online or on a variety of television networks.


Bicycling is one of the best indoor at-home exercises. On rainy days or times you don’t have time for a long workout, you can use your stationary bike or treadmill. Almost every type of equipment you’d find at a gym is available to purchase online or at resale stores. It might be a larger purchase, but once you have the equipment, the workout is free! You can even find used exercise equipment at garage sales, in classified ads and on Craigslist.


Swimming burns calories without putting pressure on your joints, and you don’t need an Olympic-sized pool to swim laps. Some neighborhoods offer a community pool for residents. Other community centers and parks and recreation departments also offer water aerobics classes.


You can bicycle your way to a great workout while doing other things like running errands. You can also take your bike on park trails which are free to use. Many cities also offer bike share programs, with bike dock stations throughout the city to pick up and drop off bicycles to use at your leisure. They offer memberships as well as a pay-per-use option.


Kids and dogs have endless energy, and simply keeping up with them can give you a better workout than an hour at the gym. Not to mention, it’s much more fun!



Courtesy of Money Crashers

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