Gym memberships can be expensive, but they often can seem like the most effective way to stay in shape.
There are other options though. Over the past year, I have realized I can stay fit on the cheap, without a pricey gym membership. Below are some ideas about how to stay fit without blowing your budget.
Get moving outside. Right now it’s cold in many parts of the country, but a nice brisk walk outside can be incredibly refreshing. If you’re lucky and live somewhere warm, you can get out any time of year.
On-Demand fitness videos. If it truly is too cold to get outside — or there are dangerous conditions like ice or snow — stay inside and work out with free fitness videos. If you have a cable or satellite package, you likely have a wide selection of on-demand fitness videos that offer a variety of workouts from yoga to kick-boxing. You can also select a program based on how much time you have.
Your cellphone. If you have a smartphone, you can get free apps from a variety of companies, including Women’s Health, that offer workout ideas and moves. I like Women’s Health Hot Body Yoga. It offers workouts for any skill level and time-frame. There are other apps that track your movement during the day and can compute how many calories you’ve burned performing your usual routines. The best thing about using your phone is that you always have a workout on hand. Some of the better programs may cost a couple dollars, but $2.99 is still less than any gym membership.
Scout out LivingSocial, Groupon and other daily deals for fitness bargains. The Daily Deals section on many of the sites in the Living on the Cheap network are a really easy and quick way to round up all of the bargains in the area. Last year, I found a month’s worth of classes and workouts at a gym for only $20, a package of 30 classes at a yoga studio for $25, and — my personal favorite — a massage and classes at a swanky gym for only $50.
Local free facilities such as public pools, fields and tennis courts. These are great places to work out. My city has a number of excellent indoor pools that offer free programs. Our local libraries even offer free yoga classes.
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