Getting Fit Without Spending a Fortune

free weights

I admit that when I think about getting into shape, losing weight and staying fit, my mind immediately pictures me swimming in a big olympic-sized pool, using fancy gym equipment with a personal trainer and running on an indoor track. At this point in my life and debt repayment process, this vision can’t come to fruition though. I can’t spend money on a fancy rec center membership, so I need to get back into shape without these resources. Though it may be slightly more difficult, depending on who you ask, it’s not impossible to get into shape with very little resources.

free weights

Via Flickr – cumi&ciki

  1. Run/Walk/Hike. This is my exercise of choice. Along with my sister-in-law, I am training for a 5k run right now. Walking is a part of my life everyday so I’m opting to take it up a  notch and start running (more like jogging). For more calorie burning, I often opt to wear my little one in a carrier (while walking or hiking).
  2. Bike. I see my husband and I getting bikes when the little one is old enough to use one herself. We’re pretty into camping during the summer so having bikes would be a great way to travel through the campgrounds too.
  3. Play with kids/get outside. Don’t underestimate how many calories you burn running around with kids, playing at the playground, sports, or even raking huge piles of leaves to jump in! Gardening and home maintenance also count as exercise, as does walking the dog!
  4. Buy inexpensive home equipment. Now that I consider myself pretty committed to my walking and jogging routine, in the next few weeks I plan on looking at both the local thrift shops and big box stores for some cheap gym equipment such as a yoga ball and free weights to add to the mix.
  5. Search online classifieds. Searching your online classifieds can be a great resource for many things. You may be able to find a great piece of equipment you can buy used, some videos or even a ‘club’ or class to join. Our local running club advertises online as does a mommy walking club. Never hurts to check!
  6. YouTube/library DVD’s. YouTube as well as videos you can rent or download are great ways to get in shape. It has been recommended I try Jillian Michaels’ videos so I plan on going to the library (by walking there!) and borrowing a few.
  7. Free outdoor gym. I realize this depends on where you live, but in our city there are a few outdoor gyms. They are usually within parks and contain a few pieces of equipment that you can use to get fit (and are weather resistant). The local park here has about five pieces of equipment that are mostly for strength training but there is one cardio machine.
  8. Use your smartphone. I know you’re probably thinking this is the last thing an active person should be doing, but there are numerous apps that can help you stay in shape. Downloading a food app will help you count calories and also give you a feeling of progress for eating healthy. There are also a plethora of workout apps that can effectively suggest goals that fit your current state of health and schedule. If anything, having these apps will help remind you that you’re making an effort to stay in shape each time you check your smartphone.

Being active is so important for everyone. If you’re working towards a financial goal then it’s even more important that you get creative with how you stay active. While I like the idea of belonging to a rec center, I’m also working towards becoming a ”runner” so I have something wherever I go. As long as I have my shoes I should be good to go wherever I may be in the world. Investing a little time and money in your fitness can pay off in the long-run with better overall health, less medical conditions to worry about and overall better well-being.

How do you stay active and what does it cost you?

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32 thoughts on “Getting Fit Without Spending a Fortune

  1. We have a home gym full of weights, a power cage, a treadmill and so on. The cost was a little high upfront, but it will last us for a long time. We also get to save on gas costs since we don’t have to drive anywhere.

  2. cj says:

    Catherine!!! #1 and #4 is all we’ve needed for the past several years and we are in the best shape of our lives. Thanks for a great article!! Have a fancy one!!!

  3. I run. Because I am a long distance runner (fell off the wagon for a bit but rapidly recovering form) I work with a trainer. I believe this is frugal in the long run and will save mne a fortune on knees and hip replacement :). You are right, moving around is cheap and we don’t do enough of it. Exercise and training don’t have to be.

    • We don’t do it nearly enough! If I get serious into running I can see the advantages to running with a coach or trainer. Since I can’t do 3k without walking yet I’d say I’m far from there 😉

  4. Luckily, our apartment has a pretty nice gym that we can use 24/7 if we want to. Otherwise a simple run is always enjoyable for me. The one other thing is simple push ups. You can get a great work out all over just by focusing on proper form.

  5. Working out doesn’t cost a fortune if you get fit the smart way. I have a friend who owns a gym so I go for free. I actually found a weight set for free on the end of a driveway at a neighbours house for the wife last night. I have a gym set up in the basement that I’ve collected over the years. I have a treadmill here that the wife bought about 7 years but it’s a good one.. floor mats, weights, rowing machine, bike.. and a bunch of other things… I do squats, lunges, sit ups etc… all in the house. You can use the wall, the floor anything you can get your hands on.

  6. I haven’t belonged to a gym in over 12 years. For me, it was a waste of money. I much prefer walking, hiking, and biking. I try and bike to work a few days a week, so on those days, I don’t have to squeeze in extra time for exercise. The other days, I use a small hand weight and do sit-ups. I probably need to pop in the 30-Day Shred, but I’ve been a little lazy lately. 😉

  7. When am on my A game to stay fit, I eat healthy food to begin with, then I run, ride the bike, do other exercises like jumping jacks that can be done at home. All free. However sometimes I pay to go to the gym especially winter time.

  8. It is true that there are several ways to become physically fit. You can work out at home. You save time and money. There are fitness gyms that charge lower than the popular ones. Try these for a change.

  9. I have a stationary bike that I “ride” for 30 minutes every day. My wife and I also like to take walks in our neighborhood after dinner. We not only get in some exercise, but also use the time to talk to each other.

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