We all have to cut back and shave off unnecessary expenditures. And sometimes when this happens, we look a little more closely at that gym membership. Even if you’re lucky to go a few times a week and get your money’s worth, you might ask yourself, “Do I really need it?” While it’s a nice luxury to have, the answer is probably not.
Instead, there are many other ways you can stay healthy and get fit on a budget. From buying used fitness equipment to using online instructional videos, here are six frugal and easy ways to exercise and cut back on expenses. Put on your favorite sports bra and leggings and get to it!
- Skip the Gym Membership
As mentioned, one of the easiest ways to get fit on a tight budget is to skip (or cancel!) your gym membership entirely! You can set up your own gym at home and use what you have available, like multi-use equipment. Explore YouTube or your local library to find an endless amount of exercise training videos–from yoga to Zumba to step aerobics and strength training. You can also simply invest in a decent pair of workout leggings and running shoes to hit the pavement around the neighborhood. Make use of that staircase and break a sweat with a cardio workout. Look around the house and get creative! You can even reuse milk jugs and turn them into weights.
- Invest in Multi-Use Equipment
To get the most bang for your buck, invest in multi-use fitness equipment. Find equipment that is versatile and can target multiple areas. Don’t fall for gadgets that target one specific area like ab machines or a thigh squeeze machine. Not sure what we mean by multi-use? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Exercise Ball–This fitness tool can work multiple areas, such as the abs and support the body during weight training and cardio exercises. You can even perfect your balance, sitting on them as you work at home or watch TV.
- Multi-Station Home Gyms–While these may be a higher upfront cost, they’re pretty much everything you need, allowing you to work the entire body! When you compare it to the price of a year’s gym membership, it’s relatively inexpensive.
- A Step–A single step is quite versatile, allowing you to use it as a weight bench or cardio exercise.
- Buy Inexpensive Essential Gear
Like investing in multi-use equipment, you don’t need the same fancy exercise gear that a gym might offer. A few select pieces of fitness gear will go a long way. Make your money go further with these essential pieces.
- Resistance Bands–These bands are great for toning arms and legs. Plus, they take up little room and can even be packed in a suitcase for travel.
- Jump Ropes–Feel like a kid again and invest in some jump ropes. They also offer a great cardio workout and, like resistance bands, take up no room and are portable.
- Used Equipment–If you keep an eye out, you can find a stellar deal on used gym equipment. Check fitness-related thrift stores like Play It Again Sports and set up a search and alert on Craigslist to snag the perfect piece.
- Use Your Own Bodyweight
If your budget is really tight, just use your bodyweight! You can do countless bodyweight exercises at home, such as pushups, lunges and squats, to name a few. Don’t forget to get your blood pumping with some cardio, too! For bodyweight cardio exercises, try jumping jacks, side steps and knee lifts.
The trouble with bodyweight exercises is that you will need to make them more challenging and find a way to add resistance. But you can easily do this by slowing down the activity, trying small pulses or shortening the movement, and doing more repetitions. It’s that simple! Bodyweight exercises are a great way to keep you motivated when working out at home.
- Find a Training Partner
Instead of having a personal trainer, find someone to train right along with you. This accountability buddy can help you both stay motivated. The important thing is to find someone who is around the same fitness level as you. Otherwise, one of you might be doing laps around the other. Find a friend, coworker, neighbor or family member and hold each other accountable, meeting up a few times a week.
- Join Community Gyms
If you still like the idea of going to a gym, check out a local community center gym run by your town or county. Many times, they offer much lower fees than a standard gym membership, and even sometimes provide financial assistance and flexible payment options. Look into your local YMCA, which is dedicated to focusing on family health and fitness. YMCAs offer many of the same gym facilities and equipment a regular gym might and some even offer indoor pools as well as group fitness classes! You can also find JCCs (Jewish Community Centers) that offer camps and workshops for younger children and group classes for adults, too!
How Do You Plan to Save?
As you can see, there are many practical ways to cut back on expenses and still maintain a healthy workout and lifestyle. If you have already developed a steady routine, it can make the transition easier. If not, hunt down an accountability buddy to keep each other on track to meet your goals, whether it’s to lose weight, gain muscle or improve your heart health.
So go grab some multi-use equipment and essential gear to get started at home or switch your locker to a more affordable community gym. Do whatever it takes to get fit on a tight budget.