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How exercise for practically free

Updated on October 4, 2009

One of the most common misconceptions about working out is that it can be prohibitively expensive.  This couldn't be farther from the truth.  With a little creativity, and a willingness to spend more time outdoors, anyone with a tight budget can exercise and reap the benefits associated with becoming more fit. 

  • Kick it old school. Think gym class exercises from when you were a kid. Calisthenics like jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, mountain climbers, high knees, butt kicks, and jumping rope are fantastic additions to a workout routine and require very little equipment. None, if your kids have a jump rope hanging out around the house.
  • Take your pooch for a long walk. Find a route with some hills for a bit of a challenge, and keep the pace as if you're running late for a very important appointment.  If the mood strikes jog a little.  Walks keep dogs happy and healthy, and any extra activity you can get into your day is a bonus.
  • Lunges and squats are great lower body exercises and require no equipment. Keep good form to protect your knees (no knee over toes) when performing the exercises and you'll be in great shape in no time.  If you have weights throw in some bicep curls while lunging and shoulder presses while squatting.  Hitting the arms and the legs at the same time saves you time and gets fantastic results. Shape.com, self.com, and womenshealthmag.com all have tons of exercise ideas at no cost.
  • Go for a jog. Load your ipod with some of your favorite songs and go for it, or if you don't have an ipod enjoy the scenery and maybe sneak in some people watching. If you're just starting out, jog until you're too winded and then walk until you're bored. Repeat. Before you know it you'll have gotten a very effective and inexpensive workout. All you need are some sneakers.
  • See if area gyms offer free week trial memberships. This is a great way to try before you buy, and you'll have access to tons of equipment until the membership expires.
  • Find local free Meet Up groups whose interests overlap with yours. Meet Up is a great way to meet new people and try new activities. They are casual and fun ways to reconnect with a hobby or to learn a new sport. Most of the activities will be free, and if they're not, you'll know beforehand.
  • Go hiking. Hiking is one of the best exercises to blast heart rates up and as a result incinerate calories. It's also really fun. You'll be able to enjoy some beautiful natural scenery and reap the benefits of fresh air and tranquility, while getting in some physical activity.
  • Exercise tv and Fit tv are great resources, and if you're a Comcast customer with Ondemand you're able to access tons of videos for free adding some variety into your workouts.  Most require little to no equipment and you'll know before you get started what you'll need.  Try something new and have fun with the options.

If you're willing to purchase some hand weights the possibilities are quite endless.  Working out is fun and is a valuable part of any healthy lifestyle.  During tough times it can be necessary to cut expenses, such as gym memberships, to get ahead.  But, you don't have to become sedentary.  There are tons of options out there which won't empty your wallet.  Recessions are tough, but they always end.  Either way you'll still be in great shape. 


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