You see the ads everywhere, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. Gyms and their expensive contracts are not necessary to get a good workout.
It is absolutely possible to get fit on a budget, or even for free!
Whether you feel like the world’s laziest person or you are a huge health nut, there is something for you.
I’ve put together a list of 11 brilliant ways to get (or stay) in shape on a budget. No more excuses! And no more contracts!
Ways you can get fit on a budget
1. Walk more
Walking is probably the easiest way to burn more calories and start getting into better shape.
You can make a point to take a walk after dinner each night or go on a short hike each weekend. There are likely hiking trails nearby that are even kid friendly so you can take your little ones with you.
If it seems hard to even squeeze that time in (or remember to go for that nightly walk), there are other ways to squeeze in those extra steps.
Why not park far from a store entrance? Getting off at an earlier bus stop or parking further away will easily add a short walk to your daily commute. Those extra steps and fresh air will make you feel more alert and ready for the day as well.
Or, take the stairs rather than the elevator. I even did that when I worked on the 10th floor of a building downtown. Even walking a few flights of stairs will give you a quick workout.
2. Use “free” sports facilities
Chances are you live in a town with public tennis or racquetball courts, soccer fields, and basketball courts. Why not use them? Meet some friends and play a few games for some inexpensive fun and exercise.
If you dislike the idea of teams or just prefer to go solo (raises hand), try swimming a few laps at the local pool, use obstacle courses at the parks, and check for access to weight rooms.
3. Community center classes
If you like the idea of taking a class, check out your local community center or YMCA. You will often find that the classes and facilities are much less expensive than commercial gym memberships.
Our community centers offer classes in the swimming pool, boot camp workouts, Zumba, Pilates, yoga, tai chi, aerobics and much more for a minimal fee.
Your local universities may also open their facilities to the public for a very small fee when compared to a gym membership. Give them a call and find out.
4. Use exercise apps
There seems to be a new workout app or fitness tracking app coming out every other day. The apps can help create workouts, track progress and even keep track of your nutrition. Most importantly, they make varied fitness accessible and inexpensive.
You can install something like 30 Day Fit Challenge for varied workouts or use MyFitnessPal to track your progress.
Are you having trouble finding time to exercise? Apps like 7 Minute Workout or various Tabata workout apps let you squeeze in a quick, yet effective workout at home in a short amount of time.
5. Bodyweight workouts at home
Sometimes, you just don’t want to go outside to exercise. Maybe there’s a blizzard, it’s -40 degrees out, it’s 100+ degrees and humid, or it’s Tuesday. Whatever the reason, you can work out from the climate-controlled comfort of your own home.
Running up and down stairs definitely counts as a workout. So do squats, lunges, push-ups, planks and star jumps. There are all sorts of apps, websites and workout videos aimed at those that want to workout at home. No need for a gym!
If walking isn’t enough of a workout, for the price of a good pair of shoes, you can start running.
There are programs for beginner runners such as Couch to 5k or your local runner’s shop may have classes.
7. Home exercise equipment
If you want a bit more variety or challenge with your bodyweight workout, you can add some dumbbells, pull-up bar or suspension trainers that you can either put over a solid door or mount to a wall. They’ll challenge your body more than you might think possible.
You can find inexpensive exercise equipment on Amazon, Craigslist, or sports resale shops, so be sure to check those out.
8. Join a community sports team
Whether by word of mouth, work, or Meetup groups you can probably find a few community sports teams to join. I’ve seen co-ed teams for rugby, softball, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, soccer, and dodgeball.
Have a few laughs and sweat a bit with new (or old) friends.
9. Workout DVDs or streaming video
Workout DVDs are cheap at resale stores, rummage sales and even on Amazon.
If you use the DVD subscription on Netflix, you have access to all sorts of workouts such as Pilates, yoga, bellydancing, tae bo, and tai chi.
Your local library most likely also has a large variety of DVDs you can check out for free. Switch it up a bit every few weeks with a new DVD.
YouTube is loaded with a bunch of popular fitness channels/videos for free. Do searches on the types of workout you would like to try. Or check out channels such as Blogilates, BeFiT, and if you have access to weights try the Girls Gone Strong channel.
10. Bike there
If walking or running don’t satisfy your need for speed, then it’s time to dig out that bike that has been collecting dust.
Besides being good exercise, you can save money on gas by biking to work or the store. In larger cities, you might even get to work faster by biking than driving by avoiding traffic jams.
11. Get enough sleep
Believe it or not, getting enough sleep is essential to weight loss and getting fit.
Getting enough sleep helps keep the hormones that make you feel hungry in check and helps keep your immune system going strong.
Sleeping an adequate amount also helps decrease your chances of injury while exercising or participating in sports. You don’t want to go to that rec center dodgeball game tired!
And if you are tired, you likely won’t feel motivated enough to exercise.
Getting healthy doesn’t need to be expensive and can even be free! You can get a good workout without joining an expensive gym that locks you into a contract. As you can see, there are many ways to get fit on a budget.
What’s your favorite way to stay fit on a budget? Let us know in the comments below!