Is the thought of expensive gym memberships and costly exercise equipment keeping you from really going after your fitness goals this year? Don’t miss this essential guide to saving money and finding more motivation to exercise.
Ask if your local gym offers discounts. Some gyms offer sliding scale membership fees that vary depending on the number of people in your household and annual income. Others may negotiate on price with you or waive initiation fees if you simply talk to them about it. It’s worth asking the manager and can’t hurt!
Look on the web for online-only promotions. Coupon sites like Groupon and LivingSocial often carry exclusive offers from gyms near you that are good only when you sign up online.
Stream free instructional videos. There are hundreds of free fitness tutorial videos on websites like Youtube that you can stream from the comfort of your own home on your laptop, smartphone, or smart TV. Simply find an open, wide space to workout in your house and hit play. You could be doing yoga, bodyweight exercises, even kickboxing in a matter of minutes.
Take advantage of your age. Are you an older adult? You could qualify for free gym memberships through initiatives like Silver Sneakers in the U.S. or find free fitness programs at your local senior center or YMCA/YWCA.
Maximize employer benefits. Did you know that some employer-provided health insurance will reimburse you for doing healthy things like going to the gym? Many companies also provide their own group discounts to local fitness centers. Contact your human resources department to find out what fitness benefits are offered to you.
Sign up in the summer. Many people join the gym at the turn of the New Year looking to get a leg up on their fitness resolutions. The summer, however, is often a different story and a great time to look for deals as gyms are often scrambling to find new members. Same goes for the end of the month when many gyms are trying to hit new member quotas and may offer you more incentives to join.
Look for used sports equipment. Loads of stores carry used sports equipment, from bikes to jump ropes, racquets and more, including Play It Again Sports, Goodwill, and many charity re-stores. Find good-quality, inexpensive equipment and you could kick start a new hobby today!
Get outside. So many fitness activities are free when you simply head outside to enjoy them. Walking or biking around your neighborhood, going on a hike, swimming at a public beach, jogging in your community, playing frisbee in the park, you name it.
Invest in portable equipment. The best home exercise equipment is that which you can take on-the-go, i.e. on vacation, on work trips, etc. Small, portable tools like resistance bands and grip strengtheners allow you to keep up with exercise even when travel takes you away from home.
Volunteer more. There are loads of heart-pounding, sweat-busting service projects that could have you helping out your community and burning calories in no time. Think about building or restoring houses with Habitat for Humanity, packing and loading food boxes at the local food bank, or running and playing with dogs at a nearby animal shelter.
Look for community-sponsored fitness classes. Stay in tune with what’s happening in your community and you may be surprised to find a host of wellness-inspired programs that are offered to citizens at no charge. Free yoga classes in the park, discounted dance fitness classes at the community center, there are lots of options are out there.
Make the most of your time. If time is money and you simply can’t offset your work and family time with fitness time, try working easy calorie-burning and strength training activities into your everyday life. Skip the conference room and take work meetings on the go, join your kids when they are playing outside, do lunges and squats while you cook dinner, and so forth.
Try an app. If cost and accessibility to a gym are preventing you from tackling your fitness goals, try a free or lower-cost fitness app like Aaptiv, Sworkit, Keelo, or Home Workout. You can connect with personal trainers and time-tested workout routines you can do anywhere at any time.