5 Ways You Can Make Your Workouts Affordable
With the New Year having come and gone a few short months ago, countless consumers have spent their hard-earned cash on expensive gym memberships with ambitious resolutions about getting in shape. They might have been smart and waited until February to buy it since they’d save money, but many of them have yet to set foot inside their gym at all, wasting the money spent on their memberships. In fact, according to Statisticbrain.com, 67 percent of people who have gym memberships never use them.
Traditional health clubs can set you back financially, but it’s not the only place good-intentioned consumers are throwing their money away. Crossfit, specialty gyms, and niche classes are popping up all over the country, raking in billions of dollars and costing consumers sometimes more than $100 a month. For the committed, the results can be plentiful. But for the rest, it’s a waste of money. According to Statista, the nation spent close to $26 billion on gyms and exercise classes in 2016 alone. When you remember that 67 percent of gym subscribers never use their memberships, that’s a lot of money that goes down the drain.
The result of all this: Lots of cash-strapped people forgo the idea of fitness altogether, which can have costly consequences—and I’m not talking about cash.
Healthcare expenses for treating diseases related to obesity range from estimates of $147 billion to close to $210 billion per year. Obesity also results in job absenteeism, which costs companies roughly $4.3 billion a year. Then there’s the impact on quality of life. Extra weight can often limit your ability to engage in certain activities.
But You Can Get Your Workout On Without Draining Your Cash
1. Hit the Road to Health
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym lifting heavy weight to get in shape and exercise. Throwing on a pair of running shoes, downloading your favorite tunes on your iPod, and hitting the road for a jog or a walk can go a long way toward improving your health. And it doesn’t have to cost a penny.
Many towns, cities, and neighborhoods across America have designated jogging and running trails that are maintained and provide the perfect way to get a low-cost workout. Public workout spaces with weightless gym equipment are even popping up in some areas of the country. Don’t have any trails or parks nearby? Take to the sidewalk or street to get your jog on—with the right shoes. Experienced exercisers can kick it up a notch by finding hilly streets and roads to master, inclement weather be damned. You can hit the mall for a few laps if the weather keeps you from being outside.
Not the walking or jogging type? There are plenty of other free outdoor activities that will get you in shape. Playing basketball, baseball, or soccer in a pickup game or dedicating a few hours a week to hikes or bike rides can be significant contributors to improving your health. Same goes for in-line skating, dancing in your living room, exercising at the park, or any other activity that gets you up and moving.
2. Build Your Own Body Weight Workout
Rewind a decade and the conventional wisdom went like this: the more weight you lift the bigger muscles you’ll have. Want to be buff and cut? Then keep increasing the amount you curl, squat or press. These days, science has proven that there are alternative ways to achieve a defined physique and it doesn’t require expensive workout equipment. Using your own body weight as resistance can give you similar results for free. Because there are no heavy weights or complicated equipment there’s also less risk of injury. On top of that, it’s excuse-proof since you can do it just about anywhere.
Some of the most common bodyweight exercises include pushups, triceps dips, situps, and squats, although there is a host of others. Naysayers may think that it’s only for beginners, but even the fittest can get a good workout. Take push-ups, for example. If you can bang out a hundred without breaking a sweat, take it to the next level by adding one-armed push-ups in the mix, or exploring the different ways you can actually do a push-up. Not sure how to build your own workout? The Internet is a treasure trove of information on different types of exercises and how to perform them correctly.
3. Download Free Apps to Get in Shape
“Nothing in life is free” isn’t always the case when it comes to workout apps. There are apps that charge a monthly or yearly subscription to access their library of workouts—often cheaper than a gym membership—but there are also a lot of free workout apps. They run the gambit from the one-on-one training that Thumbtack says costs an average of $55 per hour in the physical world, to workout classes that put you in a virtual exercise room.
Lots of these apps limit your free access, but with numerous ones to choose from, you should be busy for awhile, or at least be able to get your exercise routine started. If classes or personal trainers aren’t your thing, there are free apps that take an old-school approach to getting in shape, using calisthenics. Take the 30 Day Squat Challenge free app. The only exercise is squatting, but it has 13 different variations of that classic move and six different workouts. Users can also track their progress and it’s not only reserved for your legs. There’s a 30 Day Challenge app for your abs, arms, butt, and pretty much every other body part.
4. Tap into Your Community to Save on Fitness
Most people choose a neighborhood for the school district, walkability, or proximity to their jobs. What they often don’t realize is that these communities offer a lot of ways to get in shape too. Baseball, softball, basketball and other team sports aren’t only reserved for children. There is a slew of affordable adult leagues that anyone can join. Not only will you get exercise but you’ll make new friends, and maybe even win a trophy. You’ll also be less inclined to blow off practices and games if you have a team relying on you.
Your local library is another low-cost option. Many host free or cheap exercise classes. Lots of school districts have continuing education programs that provide inexpensive courses in different genres including health and fitness.
5. Take a Free Ride to the Gym
For gym owners, the more customers they get, the better their business will be. This is why it’s common for them to give away free passes. These one-time deals are designed to get you hooked on working out, usually lasting one to two weeks. After that, you either pay up or don’t come back. For newbies, it can be an ideal way to test the waters. For travelers, it can be a great way to save some cash. Lots of bigger gyms also offer members guest passes they can use monthly or periodically.
Your health benefits can also be a way to join a gym without breaking the bank. The healthier you are, the lower your costs will be for doctor visits and medicine, and the insurers know that. It’s the reason they offer reimbursement for gym memberships, yoga classes, and smoking cessation programs in many plans.
Exercise is the window to health, yet far too many people blow it off, blaming cost as one of the main reasons. What they don’t consider are the long-term expenses from not staying fit. Medical bills, chronic disease, and costly medicines add up, weighing down their quality of life.
From jogging to dancing in your living room, cash-strapped consumers have a bunch of ways to achieve their fitness goals, relegating the lack of money excuse to the junk pile.