How to Stay Healthy Without Paying for an Overpriced Gym Membership

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Going to the gym isn’t always the best option for everyone who wants to work out and stay healthy, in fact, for some, it doesn’t make sense at all. Since 67 percent of gym members don’t go to the gym at all and many more don’t go often, it results in an unnecessary expense.

If you’re looking to get or keep fit, there are a variety of great ways to exercise without going to the gym. It’s actually easier than you think.

Take advantage of free workout videos or apps. These routines give you a lot of flexibility, as you can do them virtually from anywhere, without equipment or a gym. Some may cost a few bucks or have a small monthly fee, but there are often thousands of workouts to choose from.

Walk when possible. Walking is the MOST underrated exercise. Add extra steps to your day by parking further away to walk or by walking around when on the phone. Want to make it fun? Turn walking into a fun social event by inviting your friends or co-workers along.

Take the stairs. Elevators are great when going 10 plus floors but take the stairs otherwise when possible. You’ll be surprised how doing this one little thing can make a big difference in your health. You can get extra exercise by walking up and down the stairs of your home or apartment for 15 minutes a day. Climbing stairs burns more calories per minute than jogging!

Check tag sales or online marketplaces for fitness equipment. Some light dumbbells, fitness balls, or even a jump rope sourced second-hand can make for great home workouts. You can often find exercise bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals for pennies on the dollar when people move or want to clear out some extra space. 

Use bodyweight and household chores. Planks, push-ups, squats, jumping jacks – all great ways to use your bodyweight to shed those extra pounds. Want to kill 2 birds with one stone?  Incorporate some housework into your mix. Do lunges while you vacuum or step-ups while you dust!

Look for free fitness classes. Local park and rec or community colleges often host exercise classes in parks or community space, especially during the summer. They are often free or have a nominal fee but can give you a chance to try some different exercises.

Hike. With the right clothing, you can hike year-round, but it’s especially enjoyable during the more seasonal months. Not only do you get a good workout in, but you get a chance to enjoy nature and enjoy some peace and quiet giving you a mental break too.

Join a rec league or use public courts and fields. Some towns offer recreational leagues for everything from softball to basketball where you can play games weekly for a nominal fee. Many public schools also allow the use of their fields, courts, and track for the public to use when not in use by the school.

Working out without the cost of a gym membership isn’t hard, it just takes a little creativity and flexibility. There are plenty of inexpensive or free options available depending on your interests and how you want to exert your energy, and it’s better than paying for a pricey gym membership that you may not use if you fall within that 67%.

Laura Berendsohn

Laura Berendsohn
Washington Branch Manager, Assistant Vice President