Get Fit for Free

Working out doesn't have to mean spending $300 a month for gym fees.
Get Fit for Free
Sure, employing a personal trainer, building a state-of-the-art fitness center in your home and joining a fancy gym may seem like great ideas — for those with bottomless bank accounts. But fitness is not reserved only for the rich and famous. Truth is, it's free; you just have to know how to tap into it. Here are some practical, fun ways you can join the ranks of the physically active without breaking the bank.

Get a leg up
Getting into shape doesn't mean you have to invest in an expensive treadmill. All it takes is putting one foot in front of the other. Walking or jogging through your neighborhood is just as effective. Plus, it's more natural for your body: Outdoor walking usually doesn't involve handrails, so it improves your body's ability to balance and stabilize itself.

Walk the dog
Why pay a trainer to hold your hand when man's best friend is only too willing to do it for free? A dog doesn't complain and will never make excuses about why it can't exercise. Not to mention, a dog provides a little extra security when you're out for a night jog.

Take a hike
Confused by cardio cross-training classes? Luckily, they're not mandatory. Try trail walking; it's a great way to vary the intensity of your cardio routine. The variation in terrain not only changes the cardiovascular workout but also the muscles used, which can offer a more thorough lower-body workout.

Ride yourself fit
Remember when you were a kid and riding a bike was just what you did — anytime and all the time? Now you're probably paying for stationary bikes and expensive road and mountain bikes. Instead, pick up a cheap old beater at a yard sale, oil the chain, inflate the tires and you'll be cycling around town for free. (Just be sure to wear a helmet.)

Buddy up
Hiring a personal trainer can be a great way to learn safe and effective exercise instruction. Unfortunately, the cost can be prohibitive. Instead of spending $50 or more per session, split the cost with a friend and work out together. Sometimes a reliable workout partner can be all the motivation you need.

Get creative with weights
There are lots of ways to sculpt your muscles. Gallon containers of water weigh about 8 pounds. Jars and cans weigh a bit less and can be effective for working the shoulders. Refer to the our workouts for strength-training suggestions.

How much could you save?

Product or Service Low End High End
Gym membership (per year) $300 $1,200
Personal trainer (per hour) $30 $200
Treadmill $300 $3,500
Stationary bike $200 $1,800
New road or mountain bike $300 $3,000
Dumbbells (up to 10 lbs) $5 $50
Home gym $200 $6,000
Cardio or spinning classes (per class) $5 $20
Dance classes (per month) $25 $100

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