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Simple ideas to get fit on a budget

Gym memberships and all the proper gear you need can soon end up costing you a lot. If you’re on a strict budget, you might think that fitness isn’t an option for you, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Exercise is an important habit for everyone to get into. Keeping fit and active is beneficial for both your physical health and your mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, fitness can be an expensive hobby. Gym memberships and all the proper gear you need can soon end up costing you a lot. If you’re on a strict budget, you might think that fitness isn’t an option for you, but that doesn’t have to be the case.


Here are some ideas to help you get and stay fit, without breaking the bank. 

Exercise With Friends

Do you have friends with the same kind of fitness goals as you who are also on a smaller budget? Create an exercise group together and meet up a few times a week to work on your fitness. Choose free spaces like the local park or a high school track for a run, the community pool for a swim, or someone’s house to do fitness videos as a group. Make things fun by exercising together and then doing something fun like going for coffee together afterward. You’ll have more motivation, without spending as much money. 

Buy A Deck Of Cards

You can create a varied workout routine with a deck of cards and bodyweight exercises. Assign a move to a suit in the deck, such as lunges for clubs, sit-ups for hearts, squats for spades, and push-ups for diamonds. Shuffle the deck and flip over a card. If you turn over the four of diamonds, do four push-ups. For the eight of clubs, do eight lunges. Keep turnings cards over until you’ve finished the deck, or can’t keep going any longer, for a clever and easy to manage twist on mixing up your workout with no need for equipment. 

Look For Free Passes

A lot of gyms offer free or discounted trial passes for new members. Sign up for these to get access to classes or the gym equipment without a full membership. Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget to cancel before you get charged. This can also be a good trick if you do want to sign up for a class. You can try a few classes to find the one you like best without wasting money on classes you don’t get on with. 

If you do want to join a gym, free passes are also a good way to try a few different ones out so you can find the best one for you and look around for the right price to help you find a membership that you can comfortably afford. Ask your friends if their gym has guest passes, so you can try their gym without spending any money too. 

Don’t Buy Equipment

You don’t need a lot of exercise equipment to get an effective workout. You can work out for free at home by doing strength training in the form of bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, and crunches. Boost your cardio fitness by dancing to your favorite songs, or running up and down the stairs. There are plenty of benefits of cardio and strength training at home, as it won’t cost you anything and can be squeezed in whenever you have a spare few minutes. Use videos to guide you and get a real workout without needing to leave the house. 

Take Part In Corporate Wellness

More and more companies are beginning to invest more in maintaining the health of their staff. Many businesses have deals arranged with local gyms for discounted memberships for their employees, and some may even provide classes at the office, such as a morning yoga class before the workday starts or during the lunch hour. This is ideal for you, as you can save money, and it works for your company, as healthier staff need less time off sick. See if the company you work for offers anything like this. If they don’t, why not suggest that they do? 

Go Outside

Lots of parks have outdoor workout equipment in them that anyone can use for free. See if a park near you has anything like this. You can also do plenty of exercises outside without paying any money. Go for a walk, or do hill runs. Take up jogging. If you own a bike, go for a bike ride. If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, go for a run on the sand. Sand is harder to run on, so it will work your legs even harder. You can swim in the sea too for a total body workout. 

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Invest In A Kettlebell

Kettlebells are a very effective tool for strength training and are perfect for use at home. For most home workouts, you only need one kettlebell, which makes them a cheaper option than buying a set of dumbbells. You can add a kettlebell to lots of basic bodyweight moves to add resistance to make the move more challenging. The other advantage of a kettlebell is that it is small and easy to store at home, or put in the car to take with you for a workout outside. 

Make DIY Weights

If you’re on a strict budget but still want to add weights to a workout, you can make your own weights with ordinary things from around the house. Save gallon milk jugs and refill them with water to make them heavier. You can adjust the weight by changing how much water you put in. Who needs dumbbells? 

Buy a Used Bike

Secondhand bikes often show up for sale on eBay, Craiglist, and Facebook marketplace. Keep an eye out for a bike in good condition at a cheap price. Cycling is a brilliant exercise, and once you’ve bought the bike, it doesn’t have to cost you a cent. If you can afford to, swap the saddle for a new one for a comfier ride. 

Take Inspiration From Influencers

There are lots of fitness influencers and fitness gurus on YouTube and Instagram, lots of whom post workouts that you can do at home without needing any equipment, whether you want to do yoga or a HIIT workout. Try a few different influencers to find the ones that you like and follow them to get inspiration. Search for things like ‘at home workouts’ ‘bodyweight exercises’, and similar terms to find workouts you can manage. 

Shop Second-hand and Cheap

Look out for fitness equipment on selling sites. Items like weights often turn up used after someone has lost interest in their fitness kick, so you can easily set-up a simple home gym without spending much. If you prefer new, buy cheaper equipment. For example, resistance bands are generally low-priced and can be used for a wide range of exercises. Jump ropes can be used for a fun cardio session, and are very reasonably priced. 

Before buying any new workout equipment, have a dig in the garage or the attic fist. Lots of us have old exercise equipment we’ve abandoned. What do you have already that can be used or repurposed? That old step from the old step aerobics fad can be used as a weight bench and a step for cardio. The weights your partner bought a few years ago and never used can be dusted off and used by you. Ask your friends and family if they’re clearing out old fitness equipment, and see if they have anything that they’re willing to give you. 

Use Your Phone

Lots of mobile phones have basic fitness trackers built into them these days, and even if they don’t, there are plenty of free apps on the market. You can use fitness and diet apps to track anything from your speed and distance on a run and timed intervals for a HIIT workout, to your calorie intake. Apps like this are often free, so you can monitor your fitness without shelling out on premium apps or pricey gadgets like GPS watchers or fitness tracking devices. 


Walk More

Walking is an effective exercise, and it is easy for a lot of people to do. Find ways to fit more walking into your routine. Get off the train or bus a stop early on your commute and walk the rest of the way. Go out for a walk on your lunch break. Plan a long walk at the weekend with the family or a friend. If you can, walk or cycle to the local shop instead of driving over when you run out of bread. Park further away from the office, the supermarket, or the shops, so you can fit in more steps without really noticing it. 

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be able to maintain a good fitness routine and keep fit, healthy, and active. Incorporating being more active into your daily routine, and making the most of what equipment and options you do have access to can all go a long way to helping you stay healthy. Enjoy exercise without making too big a dent in your wallet.

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Your "not that regular" all-around gal, writing about anything, thus everything. "There's always more to discover... thus write about," she says in between - GASP! - puffs. And so that's what she does, exactly. Write, of course; not (just) puff.


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