Monday, February 15, 2010

Bag the Gym Membership and Exercise for Free

I know people who are still paying for a monthly membership to use the local gym, some actually use their memberships but most don't after the first rush of "I'm gonna get in shape-itis". Anyway, with the economy in the toilet and people having less and less money to spare on something they may not even use, consider these free ways you can exercise and get in shape without all of the expense:
  • Mall walking. Simply go to your local mall and walk! It's easy, it's free, it's indoors and out of the weather. Best of all, many malls have actual mall walking clubs, lots of great people to walk with, and some even open extra early so you can walk before the mall stores open and shoppers arrive.
  • TV exercise classes. One of my favorite yoga classes actually comes to me via the television each morning. There are also quite a few morning exercise classes on TV that you can follow along with and with cable/streaming video/free exercise videos from the library, you can actually exercise any time you want.
  • Weight lifting...with groceries. Yes you can go out and buy a whole collection of hand weights or you can wander over to the pantry and start lifting cans of veggies, jugs of milk, or any other item that is a bit weighty and fits your hands.
  • Play outside, either by yourself of with your kids. When you are a kid, you can think of all kinds of things to do outside--kick a ball down the street, play hide and seek, hang on the monkey bars at the playground--basically everything looks fun when you are a kid. If you adopt the same attitude now, you will find all kinds of things to do outside that will give you some exercise and will actually be a lot of fun.
  • Borrow fitness facilities. Does your local high school have a great track or a nice set of outdoor bleachers to run? Is there a nature trail near by? Are there community tennis courts nearby? Is there a lake where you can swim? There are usually quite a few community-developed places that anyone can use to exercise. Obviously you will want to use school facilities on weekends when the school is closed and public tennis or basketball courts assume that you have the equipment (tennis rackets, basketball) to use them.
  • Volunteer. One way that many people get to exercise for free is by volunteering at the place where they want to exercise. Years ago I volunteered at a dance studio and ended up getting my dance classes for free. Some people volunteer at the Y and in return get free passes to use the Y facilities.
  • Participate in community groups. Cultural dance groups, meet up groups, hiking groups, bicycling clubs...many communities have groups of people who share the same interest in various types of exercise activities so why not join one?
  • Some more difficult stuff. Parkour is a cool sport which requires nothing else but your bravery and what ever obstacles are naturally in your way. You can also find the tallest building in your city and climb the steps to the top, scramble up mountain trails, or even participate in a fight club (something I highly recommend NOT to do).

The bottom line is that you don't need to spend a lot of money or obligate yourself to expensive plans in order to exercise and get fit. With a little creativity and just by getting out and actually doing stuff, you can enjoy a wide range of free exercise activities.


  1. Hi. I might add that there's a lot you can do with one or two moderately heavy kettlebells and some gymnast rings if you don't mind the initial cost. Heavier kettlebells aren't cheap, but you'll never have to replace them. You can also make your own pullup bar, parallettes, and sandbags for very little.

  2. If you have the space in your home, don't forget that there are thousands of people who buy exercise equipment, never use it, get tired of it taking up space and are willing to sell it for a fraction of what it cost new.

    We have a $700 ski machine that we bought from a garage sale for $5.