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Handy Free and Inexpensive Indoor/Outdoor Gym Ideas for Winter or Anytime

Updated on September 19, 2018
Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe had exercised outside her home by walking to the gym and downtown, and did home practice during winter seasons.

Get Fit Inside...and Out

If you love to get fit and stay in shape, but can’t afford to pay for a gym membership, you can have your own indoor gym at your own home.. and outside too. And if you’re snowbound during the winter, these tips can work the same way as well All you need is plenty of space and room, may it be your bedroom or the basement, or lots of room in your backyard. The world is your oyster if you devote fifteen minutes of time or more to pump up the volume and get your heart beating. Your home practice is perfect for any fitness activity. These handy tips can be free or inexpensive at your disposal.

On Demand at Anytime

If your cable company have an On Demand channel, you can watch any fitness video for free that your heart desires at any time of day. Although it might be outdated with the same routines, you can get a feel for it. They have a range of subjects to select from and even from the website. From Spectrum, they have a SportsSkool OD video that's kid-friendly and perfect for adults. You can set your own schedules whenever you have free time.

Jogging is Excellent Exercise to Stay in Shape

Feel free to jog in the morning, afternoon, or night.
Feel free to jog in the morning, afternoon, or night. | Source

Free Study Guides

You can find many free or inexpensive study guides for you to read and peruse, and perhaps make your own copies.

Magazines: If you have a subscription to a fitness magazine, those are valuable keepsakes. If not, you can find back copies at a used bookstore or even at your library to check out. Don’t go all the way back since it might the outdated. Start from the latest month, which would be last month or the last issue before it, depending on their publishing cycles. You can borrow a copy from a friend or co-worker or print information at any doctor’s office. Most magazines have free trials before you buy a subscription.

Online: Any magazine would have free information online with plenty of valuable information on their website, where you can look at or print out if you have a computer with Wifi and Internet access. If not, you can do it at your local library. There are plenty of study guides online, if you Google or Bing it, and many would show up with email newsletters. The one I’ve used for Pilates and Yoga was’s QuickStart Study Guides for the first month and beyond. So don’t be afraid to check it out.

Books: You can find plenty of fitness books at any level in your local library or any bookstore. It’s loaded with valuable graphs, diagrams and photographs and illustrations to show you how it's done in steps. Borrow books from friends and neighbors or co-workers and make some copies if you want. Make sure it has the most recent date.

Yoga is a Great Way to Free Your Mind

Start your day or end your night with yoga and mediation at your own home.
Start your day or end your night with yoga and mediation at your own home. | Source

Ready, Set, Now Get Indoor/Outdoor Fit

Here are some examples of how you can stay fit during winter, or any time of the year. It’s free or inexpensive to buy the right equipment you need for you and your family. Think inside the box and get creative of how you can tailor it to fit your fitness needs.

Dance the Night Away/Step One-Two-Three

If you love to dance to music, you can do it at home. Whether it’s Zumba, line dancing, or country-western line dancing, or any other kind of dancing, you can select the perfect music from the radio or from your favorite albums. Start small and work your way up from fifteen minutes to a half-hour or more. Wear old sweats and work up a sweat to dance. You can dance for fun and feel great later. You don’t need a partner unless you need to.

If you love a good workout, you can do any aerobics routine at home. Whether it’s Step or not, you can be your own instructor to carve a routine out for you. Warm-up, workout, and then cool down. Don’t forget to hydrate yourself too. Pick out any song you want to and listen to the sound of music, the beat of a different drum as well. No matter what fitness level you’re at, do what’s right for you.

Pi-Yo Anyone?

For those who want to decrease back pain and stay fit and flexible, Pilates, and yoga would both help strengthen your core. For Pilates, you can use your own yoga mat for your Pilates mat and work out in any room, at least, 3-4x a week. Instead of the equipment you need for class and home practice, a regular mat workout would do just fine. If you don't have a mat, it's not a problem. Use an old beach towel or bath towel. Pump up the volume with your own music to do the classic 100 Pilates exercises. If you take twenty minutes of your day to workout with Pilates, you should feel great in no time. No matter what, all beginners should start slow and work their way up.

Yoga is another great way to stay in shape at home. No matter what kind you do, meditation can help you decompress from stress and strengthen your spine as well. Whether you do it in silence, with traditional yoga music or your own, you can use your yoga mat or beach towel to do the daily stretch routine and three long routines, regularly and preferred every morning. If not then, try to fit it in the afternoon or night, when you have a free moment.

You don’t need a yoga outfit to work out for Pi-yo. A pair of sweats would work out fine too. For home practice and during the winter, I use my BalanceFromGo Yoga mat to practice my Pilates and Yoga, when I'm not at the gym. When I lost my original yoga mat two years ago, I brought this handy yoga mat when it was on sale at the time. This mat is sturdier and won't let your feet slip and slide, whether barefoot or in socks. Plus, it comes with a free strap to carry your mat when you're on the go to the gym and back home.

Walk or Run Around/Jog Ahead

If you love to talk a walk, jog, or go for a run. Here are some ways you can workout at your home or around your neighborhood. Instead of walking or jogging on a gym’s indoor track, if the weather’s right, you can go for a spin around your neighborhood. Sidewalks and along the curbs are perfect for safe walking, day or night. It’s perfect for your own family. Have a dog? You can take him for a stroll and give him some exercise. If you have a baby or young child, go for a stroll by pushing him or her in a stroller. What a good way to expend quality time with your family? Other places to go are the parks, when they have a path for walkers, runners, or joggers, or also at the beach.

Another fun and a free tip are to do it inside your home. If you have a long carpeted walkway at your home, condo, or apartment, go for a lap or two by walking or jogging. That’s what I did in my old apartment, especially in the wintertime. If it’s not long, still take a short stroll up and down it, even while maybe doing chores. In my new apartment, there’s a narrow walkway outdoors that I can’t do laps. Try your backyard and jog around your fenced and green backyard for some exercise. You can run around with your pets.

Go for a Spin

If you love to go for a ride on your bicycle, there's no better place to do it than outside your home. You don’t need to join your Spin/Cycling class on a stationary bike. If the weather’s right, take the family on a ride on your bicycles and tricycles. You do need to wear helmets and other safety gear. Go for a spin around your neighborhood. Go for a trip to your local park or beach when there are bike paths for you to ride on. It’s a great workout for the whole family. Perfect for spring, summer, and fall weather!

Swim a Few Laps

If you have an indoor or outdoor pool in your backyard, you can go swimming there and go for a dive, if you have a diving board. It doesn’t matter if it’s heated or not. If you don’t have one, there are other ways to stay cool and refreshed during warm weather. If your neighborhood community has a pool for local residents, you can go there and sign up. It’s a great way to bring your family, meet your neighbors, and have a good time. When I lived in New Jersey, there was one down my street that was open to the community. It was also accessible for local camps. Another option is to go to your local beach if you live near a lake, an ocean, a stream, etc. You would need to pay a small membership fee and bring your badge on every visit.

Box a Few Steps/Martial Arts

If you love to box, kickbox, or do any Mixed Martial Arts or Martial Arts, which can be expensive for a premium fee, you can transform an empty room, like a carpeted and insulated basement into a home gym. For a punching bag, you can use an old pillow or cushion to punch or kick-box. You can use first aid tape for binding and gloves or worn oven mitts for boxing gloves.

I Use My Own Yoga Mat for Home Practice

My new yoga mat comes with a handy free strap to carry to the gym or to close the roll at home. I got it from Amazon two years ago.
My new yoga mat comes with a handy free strap to carry to the gym or to close the roll at home. I got it from Amazon two years ago. | Source

Step Your Way Up or Down for a Great Workout


Homemade Weight Room/Exercise Room Ideas

Instead of going to the weight room at the gym or using the machines, here are some other little nifty ideas to stay in shape and work out:


If you love lifting weights and have your own weights and dumbbells, you can do it at home in a spare room. If not, you can use a bag of potatoes and lift it up in the air. How about a six-pack or twelve-pack of soda or beer and use single cans for dumbbells in various weights? Attach it to a broken stick from a mop or broom and there you go. If you live in an apartment or condo that has a weight room, you can use it for free. In my former apartment, there was one that was unused and closed with a few weights and a treadmill.

Stepping/Walk in Place

Instead of a stepper machine, you can use your own steps in your own home. It’s a good exercise for you. Straight staircases going down and can bring you up. Do it a few times. Curvy steps aren’t recommended especially if they go to the attic. Take it even further and go outside. Take the steps outside to your garage, your basement, your patio, or balcony or pool deck, or driveway. (Except for winter, walk carefully if slippery when wet with snow, sleet/slush, salt, ice, and rainwater after downpours.) If you live in an apartment or condo that have steps, pass on the elevator. You can do it halfway for starters, go down in steps and come up in an elevator. Even if you do this once a day for a few minutes, you’ve gotten some exercise.

As for the treadmill option, unless you have your own treadmill, you can walk in place at your own pace and time yourself for five minutes. You can do it inside or outside. Don’t march, though!

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Think Outside the Box

I hope these indoor/outdoor gym exercises would get you and your family motivated in winter or any time of the year for free or with inexpensive ideas. If you ever watched the Biggest Loser, you would see how those former contestants became creative to become fit, with the exception of going to their local 24-Hour Fitness gyms, and used what they have at their own home.

For court-side sports like basketball and racquetball, you can bring family and friends to a local park or beach that have these amenities. Look around you. Check out your gym’s or fitness center’s or YMCA’s schedule of sports and think outside the box on how to incorporate them into your own home. Be creative! Think big! And get fit, indoors and outside too!

© 2015 Kristen Howe


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