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Inexpensive Ways to Exercise and Lose Weight

Updated on May 22, 2015


During difficult economic times, maintaining an expensive gym membership or purchasing new home exercise equipment is not a priority for many people. Skipping out on regular exercise could put your health at risk, however. Fortunately, it's still possible to get an excellent workout without using expensive or fancy equipment.

Walkers enjoying Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, Washington.
Walkers enjoying Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, Washington. | Source

1. Walking and Running

Walking and running are free and easy workouts that only require a safe place to walk and a decent pair of shoes. You can replace a treadmill workout just by pounding the pavement. Take a friend or family member along to make it a social activity. In the winter or other bad weather, consider walking around your local shopping mall to get in some exercise.

2. Buy Used Equipment

Garage sales and used sporting good stores are a great way to get inexpensive home exercise machines for your home. Outdoor bicycles are also common fixtures at garage sales. You might get lucky and come across a working treadmill, too. Don't forget to check craigslist and eBay for more used exercise machines. Make a habit to browse your local newspaper to find upcoming garage sales in your area. Some sellers will even list the items they plan to sell.

3. Try Free Videos

Your local library may have a collection of free exercise videos, ranging from yoga to aerobics. These DVDs are free with your library membership and probably include a variety of newer exercise videos. A simple search engine query on your library's website should help you find a few options, or you can ask your librarian for additional help. You can also check out YouTube and Hulu for more exercise videos. Be sure to try a variety of different exercise routines, such as strength training, to get a more robust workout.

4. Community Programs

Take advantage of your tax dollars by investigating exercise programs your community offers. Community centers often offer free or cheap group exercise classes. These exercise activities may include any number of classes, including yoga and dance. In addition to a good workout, you might also meet new friends from your neighborhood in these classes.

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5. Hike Nearby Trails

Hiking is a great weekend activity that is more strenuous than regular urban walking. This activity is one of the best ways to enjoy nature and take advantage of beautiful and quiet spaces. It's the perfect getaway after a week of work. It's also a wonderful exercise to do in a group with friends and family. If you don't have any good hiking trails nearby, look for some paved trails in your area.

6. Use Ordinary Household Objects as Weights

Weight machines are some of the most expensive pieces of home exercise equipment. Individual weights can be pricey as well. Instead, use ordinary objects around your house as weights. A large bottle of water is a good beginning weight. After you've gotten used to the water bottle, try a large book or a heavy paperweight.

7. Try an Inexpensive App

If you have a smartphone or tablet, you can find a wide variety of exercise apps for your device. Most of these apps will only cost you a dollar or two. If you're into running, you can find apps to help you track your runs and motivate you to improve your speed. If you're more interested in yoga or strength training, look for an app that guides you through some simple exercises. Many of these apps also have social features to help you share your fitness goals and achievements with you friends. These apps will also help you stay motivated by showing your progress.

8. Weekend Sports with Friends

It's a little difficult to play football by yourself, so invite some friends for a weekend game. Alternate the activity every weekend with basketball, soccer and other group sports. These type of activities only require a ball and a group of enthusiastic people. If you're short a few people, consider inviting your neighbors or coworkers.

Families enjoying Carkeek Park in Seattle, Washington.
Families enjoying Carkeek Park in Seattle, Washington. | Source

9. Join Your Children

Exercising with your children is a great way to improve your fitness and socialize with your children at the same time. There's no shortage of physical activities you can do as a group, from hiking to playing outside. For some creative options, try playing catch, flying a kite, building sandcastles on the beach or working in the garden together. In addition to boosting your own health, you'll teach your children the importance of regular physical activity.

10. Share With Friends

If you own any type of exercise equipment, consider lending it out and exchanging equipment with your friends or family members. This is a great way to modify your workout regime so you're not doing the same activity repeatedly. You might even discover a new type of exercise equipment that you really love. Just don't forget to give the borrowed exercise equipment back!


Don't let your budget concerns get in the way of a good workout. It's easy to be creative and find ways to exercise without the costly gym membership or exercise equipments.


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    • cactusbythesea profile image

      cactusbythesea 5 years ago from Seattle

      Thanks for stopping by, LaurenEC! Good idea about some cheap dumbbells, I should pick up a couple of those. Thanks for the feedback!

    • LaurenEC profile image

      LaurenEC 5 years ago

      Lots of good ideas. There are many exercises that I do that simply use your own body, which saves the expense of gym equipment or a membership. I bought a pair of dumbbells pretty cheap at Target and that's about all I need to get a good workout!

      Thanks for sharing!

    • cactusbythesea profile image

      cactusbythesea 5 years ago from Seattle

      RTalloni, thank you for the feedback!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      This is a good, practical, no excuses look at exercising, not just a look at exercising on a budget. Great stuff here!