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Gym memberships can cost anywhere between $8 and $50 a month depending on the place you choose. To make these more expensive, most of these gym memberships tie you into memberships of at least one year.
This costly commitment can add up and become crippling. With growing obesity rates, diabetes on the rise and heart problems affecting more and more Americans every year it is more important than ever to get, and stay, fit.
Getting and staying healthy should be at the top of everyone’s priority list, not just those who can afford it. For this reason we have compiled a list of tried and tested ways to get fit at little to no cost.
1. Start Your Morning Off Right
Everyone knows that when you exercise your body releases endorphins that make you happy. That is why starting off your mornings with a small workout is sure to set you up for the best day possible.
Not only that, but when you incorporate some light exercises in your morning you will feel great for the whole day and start your day off on the right foot.
Another great side effect is your body’s metabolism will get a kick start helping you to keep burning all day.
Try setting your alarm for 10 minutes earlier in the morning. As soon as your alarm goes off start with a big stretch. When you swing to get out of bed, don’t stand up right away.
Instead, sit at the edge of your bed with your palms on either side of you on the frame – setting you up for your dips. Count how many you can do before you start to feel tired and then add 5 more. Every day add 2 or 3 extra.
When you have done them, stand up without using your arms – instead focusing on engaging your core and using your muscles to stand up.
Head to the bathroom with high knees. Try to bring your knees to your chest with every step. In the two minutes you take to brush your teeth, start with a wall sit.
Stand against the wall and bend your knees until you are in a seated position. Use the mirror to help you focus on form. You likely won’t be able to do a full 2 minute wall sit right off the bat and that is ok.
If you work on it every day you will be able to do it in no time. If you are unable to do the full two minutes, stand up and do 10 seconds of butt kicks.
Alternating feet, bend your knee and attempt to kick your butt for at least 10 times per side. This will get your legs loose so that you can resume another wall sit.
When you are in the shower make a habit out of doing calf raises every time you shampoo and condition your hair. This involves lifting your heels off the ground. Keep these slow and controlled ensuring form.
While heading to the kitchen, run down, back up and down the stairs again while on your way.
When in the kitchen hold your coffee cup for 45 seconds with straight arms to the side at shoulder level and do some arm raises. Alternate arms for a total of 1.5 minutes before you drink it.
Try doing lunges around the house as you walk. These small changes shouldn’t make getting ready in the morning longer than about 5 minutes but are sure to get your metabolism going and help you feel more toned in no time.
Starting every day off feeling great without taking up too much extra time is what morning workouts should be all about.
2. Participate In Park Gyms
With an ever growing obesity rate within the country many parks now feature a free to use outdoor gym. Many other countries, including France and Vietnam, have been using these gyms for many years now.
While these typically only consist of a few different exercise machines, they are a great tool in helping beat the cost of a gym membership while still enjoying the reward.
These fitness parks are growing in popularity and there is likely one closer than you may think.
As they are located most often in a park or on a boardwalk getting your cardio in should be as easy as taking a walk or run around the area.
Some bigger outdoor gyms feature some cardio equipment as well. The standard is a simple set of machines that can be used to get a full body workout.
From machines that focus with your leg muscles, arm raises, core engagers to even some stretching machines, these little gyms are sure to leave you tired and in shape in no time.
3. Hit The Track
Tracks are a great way to workout because of their visual layout. They are one of the best ways to track your progress and switch up your exercises without getting boring.
If you’re walking on a simple soccer field try grabbing your timer and focus on speed walking the long straights while slowing to regain your breath on the shorts.
This can eventually turn into running the long straights by simply timing and looking to beat your previous scores.
Due to the size of tracks, this is a great place to bring the whole family so you can each focus on your own independent workouts while all staying together.
Try making a list of popular workouts to try so that you all know what to do and how to stay motivated. Bring a baseball to engage and stretch your arms and a soccer ball to get your bottom half warmed up.
Think back to your soccer days where you were made to run drills. Water bottles can act as cones as you weave your way in and out of them.
4. End Your Day With Yoga
You don’t need to spend the money on a yoga mat in order to become a yogi. Instead try to incorporate yoga in your everyday life. Some poses can be done without getting out of bed which makes them incredibly appealing.
Stress is a big and undeniable part of weight gain. This happens because when you are stressed your body releases the hormone Cortisol.
It causes your body to store lots of added fat. Learning to control and let go of that stress can help you to lose a ton of weight.
Yoga encourages meditation. This combination is a great aid in reducing the stress you carry in your life.
For this reason, incorporating yoga into as much of your day as possible will prove to be incredibly beneficial. Doing your yoga exercises can be done just about anywhere.
With the growing popularity of this activity it is no longer unusual for you to get into a few poses while at the park. This makes it easier than ever for you to take the kids to play in the park while you get a good workout in.
Don’t know any yoga moves? Try heading to youtube and streaming some great beginner yoga steps. This can be used for therapeutic reasons as well to help remedy a sore back or tight shoulders.
5. Make Small Everyday Changes
We all know some of the many everyday changes that can be made to lose weight. We know them and yet many of them are so underused.
Switching from taking the elevator to taking the stairs can do wonders for you even if you are only going one floor. For a harder workout, try running up the stairs.
Parking your car in the furthest spot at work, and at the grocery store, will help you to get a few extra fat burning steps in every single day.
Try using your everyday life to incorporate a couple extra steps in every situation. Take your dog for a quick couple of laps around your yard in the morning rather than just letting him out for the bathroom.
Use commercial breaks at night as a time to walk on the spot rather than just sit there. Or swap your husband chores so that you can mow the lawn while he does the dishes.
While none of these may seem like they are adding very much to your life, every step counts.
If you are a visual person try opting for a pedometer that will show you just how much your couple extra steps are doing for you. Use this as a goal to try to find new ways to increase your amount of steps every day.
6. Go Shopping
Shopping is a great way to burn some extra calories. On days with extreme temperatures, head to the mall and give it a good walk through.
Not just the hallways but take a walk around some big department stores opting for stairs wherever possible. The beauty of malls is that with so much around you to focus on, you forget about all the exercise you’re putting in.
This will allow you to go for longer without ever realizing it.
This doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor. When walking through the mall we recommend avoiding the food court. With so many smells.
You don’t need a mall to take advantage of this calorie burner, lace up your sneakers and head to the grocery store. Skip the cart and opt for two arm baskets instead.
These large department stores are a great way to burn some fat. Try to add equal weight into both baskets and sneak in some arm curls as you walk the isles.
When you have everything you need, do one last speedier walk through the entire store including all the isles. Be conscious of engaging your core and focus on having proper posture despite the weights in your arm.
This will help to ensure you didn’t forget anything while also getting in a full body workout.
7. Try An Aerobics Video
Taking part in a fun aerobics class no longer needs to cost you money. With the help of youtube you can now get a great workout in the comfort of your own home.
Aerobics and other home workouts have come along way since the days of Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons.
These great workouts typically don’t require any equipment and can easily have you burning hundreds of calories. If you are into a more social routine, try inviting a friend over to workout together.
Another great option rather than your typical aerobics video is to take part in high intensity interval training videos.
These workouts are known to make you work up a sweat and burn one of the highest amounts of calories in a mere half an hour workout.
While these videos often sacrifice form, they require you to work in quick succession aiming for a fast repetitive motion. With the power of youtube, you no longer need to leave your home or pay for a gym to get a high quality workout.
8. Take A Hike
Walking is a largely underused yet incredibly powerful tool at getting fit. Walking can burn an incredible amount of calories without a ton of physical effort.
Try taking your walks one step further by heading out on the trail. Bring your dog with you as a way to keep encouraged.
Trail hikes are family friendly but also can provide many rolling hills and uphill slopes that will increase your heart rate and burn fat more quickly.
It’s also known to be much more interesting which will leave you forgetting about the workout and focusing more about the nature that surrounds you.
Trails are a lot better to walk on as they have softer ground than the cement from your sidewalk and roadways. This will produce less shock with your step and therefore cause your body less stress.
This is especially important for those with bad knees, hips or back.
9. Try A Meal Plan
Abs are made in the kitchen. Any fitness guru will tell you that what you eat is the most important step in getting healthy. Try looking online for one of the many suggested meal prep guides.
This can be a great way to try out some new recipes. Instead of the go-to chicken and rice, try switching it up to a Salmon Buddha bowl.
A healthy brown quinoa tofu stir fry can help you deliciously burn your fat. Large meals should be had earlier in the day rather than for dinnertime so that they don’t turn to fat overnight.
One of the best ways to kick the fat is to cut all drinks out except water. Try buying cucumbers, lemons, limes and even pineapple to add a healthy kick to your water keeping you from getting bored.
It’s a delicious way to not only drink more water, but also have you craving water.
Snack time should be planned for. It is better to have five smaller meals a day than to have two or three large ones. When you have planned for this you are more likely to go towards healthier option.
When you get home from the grocery store, take the time to cut, wash and package your veggies in single use containers. Add ziplock bags to your shopping list and portion control your crackers and nuts so that you are all prepped for your day.
It is important when meal planning to be realistic. Falling off the healthy bandwagon may happen – for this reason have “healthy unhealthy” alternatives.
Instead of ice cream and cakes try acting for brands like skinny cow ice cream or small bags of chocolate covered almonds. Meal planning shouldn’t feel restricting, it should instead encourage portion control.
10. Pedal Pedal Pedal
While biking does require the initial purchase of buying a bicycle it will quickly pay itself off.
Try looking for a used one to cut costs while still reaping the benefits. Biking provides an excellent workout without requiring you to be fit to start up. A common gripe about this fitness method is the seats being uncomfortable, a quick and easy fix.
Most larger cities now have bike lanes, and bicycle-enforced crosswalks. This makes it easy and safe to begin biking to and from work, to the grocery store with the help of a basket, or just as a leisurely activity.
This is an especially easy to incorporate as part of your daily regime in the summer months.
Biking is a great way to get the whole family involved in fitness. For those who don’t like biking, try rollerblading. This is another great workout that will get you out with your family but does restrict you to paved areas only.
If you are in a household with kids try going out to get a piece of poster paper and a few sharpies. Get the whole family on board with getting healthier by creating a chart to track your daily fitness activities.
Use small goals to keep the family motivated such as the family member that did the most exercise every week gets to choose the weekend outing or the movie for family movie night.
When choosing a reward, be sure not to make it food related as to not associate achievements with eating. This way instead of paying for a gym membership, your whole family gets active and the money can instead go to creating memories.
Being fit and healthy shouldn’t be considered a luxury for only those who can afford it. Your risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease can be drastically reduced with a simple exercise and healthy eating regime.
With any of the steps above you and your family can easily get healthier than ever before.
Do you use any of the above mentioned tactics to get and stay fit? Let us know how it works for you in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!