If you made “work out more often” one of your New Year’s resolutions (and maybe not for the first time), then you’re already well aware that there are enough hurdles to jump. Motivation? Time? Can’t find the perfect yoga pants? I know, sister, and I feel your pain. And of course, money! Gym memberships, class fees, purchasing equipment, not to mention that I’d pay just about anything if I ever found the perfect pair of yoga pants. But it doesn’t have to be that way! If money’s one of your hurdles, here are some ideas to clear it.
10 ways to work out on a budget:
1. Gym/studio trials: If you live in a relatively dense urban area, and you don’t mind changing things up every week or two, you can utilize the “trial” memberships at many gyms and studios. For example, one of my local yoga studios offers a deal for new customers where you get two week of unlimited classes for $25, and another offers the first month for $35. Even if I only go twice a week, I’m paying $4.38 – 6.25 per class, much cheaper than the usual $12-20. Most studios advertise deals on their website.
2. Podcasts: iTunes isn’t just about music. There is an endless supply of video podcasts that you can stream to your computer, tablet, or smartphone. I switch up between yoga, Pilates, aerobics, kickboxing, step workouts, and ball workouts. The quality of the podcasts can vary widely but some are really worth your time. I’ve really enjoyed the Fit for Duty series (which can also be found directly at the Pentagon Channel website), which features female and male instructors and a no-nonsense approach.
3. Community centers: Last week in the mail I received a program from our local community center, and was shocked to discover not only a number of fitness classes offered (ranging from $8-12 per class), but also a weight room, including treadmills and stationary bikes, available for use for city residents for only $2 per session! Community colleges and adult education centers also frequently offer fitness classes for cheaper rates than for-profit studios.
4. Park exercise equipment: Again tapping into a community resource, many local public parks feature walking paths with exercise equipment along the way, or areas where the equipment is gathered (like a grown-up “playground”!) for public use. Try calling your local parks & rec department to find out where this may be located near you.
5. DIY/cheap gym equipment: One of the easiest homemade fitness aids you can make are hand weights: take old water bottles and fill them with sand. I’ve also been known to use cans of chili to bop along with Jillian Michaels, though. Check out these 21 DIY gym equipment projects on Greatlist. One step above DIY, stores like Ross and HomeGoods always have exercise equipment like yoga mats and exercise balls for reasonable prices (my exercise ball cost $6, and ended up doubling as a birthing ball and tripling as a baby gym toy!). Amazon sells sets of resistance bands for $20-30, and Goodwill frequently has a good selection of fitness equipment, especially weights, with a lot of life left.
6. Library: Netflix may have purged most of their exercise video options, but many public libraries did not. The benefit of checking out new videos every week or two is keeping some variety in your work out.
7. Walking, running, stairclimbing, or hiking: These are four great options lumped into one by their common thread: using your legs to raise your heart rate. No fancy equipment required (though you shouldn’t scrimp on a good pair of running shoes, or a sports bra).
8. Employer or insurance benefits: Because they have skin in the game of keeping you healthy, many employers and insurers offer wellness benefits. Check with your HR department or your insurance carrier to see if they offer any gym discounts or membership perks. My husband can actually earn money (75 bucks!) for talking with a health coach about his wellness goals.
9. Gardening: My mother continues to look a good 10-15 years younger than her actual age, and while some of it can be chalked up to good genes, I think she’ll outlive us all because of her garden.
10. Swimming: Community pools usually offer lap swims for $5 per session or less, and many offer further discounts if you purchase a punchcard.
Have fun and let us know how your workouts are working out!
How do you work out on a budget?