If you’ve vowed to shape up but are worried that sticking to your goal means you’ll also have to make a serious financial commitment, relax! There are plenty of budget fitness ways to get fit without having to spend much — if any — money at all.
1. In a word: walk
Walking is the easiest and cheapest way to burn calories. It can be done anywhere, at any time of day, by just about anyone. Head out for a morning or afternoon stroll, take your dog for a walk, go on a hike or try mall-walking if the weather’s bad. There are plenty of possibilities and all you need to do is put one foot in front of the other.
2. Skip the elevator and take the stairs
It’s a little more demanding than walking, but opting to climb stairs in lieu of taking an elevator or escalator is an excellent way to get your body working. This is especially handy if you live in an apartment building or work in an office tower.
3. Buy your own equipment
Whether you’re purchasing something new or used, investing in exercise equipment is an affordable alternative to paying for a gym membership. Hand weights and dumbbells are inexpensive, as are resistance bands and floor mats. If you’re wary of spending a lot on larger items, check out the used sporting-goods stores in your area.
4. Head Online
There are hundreds of exercise videos and DVDs on the internet, and trying out one (or several) allows you to train, guided by experts, in the comfort of your home. Trying new forms of workouts from exercise videos also allows you to test-drive numerous programs or exercises for free while you decide which one works best for you.
5. Find a terrible parking spot or get off at the wrong stop…on purpose
Parking your car far away from your destination forces you to walk farther and get a little extra exercise on your way in. Similarly, if you take public transit you can purposely get off a few stops early and walk the remaining blocks to wherever you’re going.
6. Join the club
If you’d rather not exercise solo, look for groups in your area that match your interests. There are people who meet for nature walking, bird watching, hiking and several other sports, from tennis to bowling. It’s free to join many of these groups, while others have nominal membership fees.
7. Raid the pantry
Use soup cans as hand weights. Or, for a bigger challenge, fill empty milk jugs with water or sand and use those instead of dumbbells. A bag of sugar or small bag of flour makes for a simple and inexpensive weight to use when doing crunches or sit-ups. Simply hold the bag on your abdomen or chest to add resistance to each rep.
No matter how tight your wallet might be, there are plenty of options for working out on the cheap. All you need is a little imagination, determination and recreation to get going.