There's no reason you have to join an expensive gym to exercise. Don't get me wrong I think it is super important to MOVE YOUR BODY EVERY DAY but a lot of people get sucked into a sales pitch, get all gung-ho for about 2 months then watch as the membership fee is debited from their checking account and rarely go. If you are one of those people, save yourself the $$ and try one of these FREE ideas to get moving...
1. Walk - All you need for this is a comfortable pair of shoes. I love to walk around my neighborhood. I love the sights, sounds, smells (OK maybe not all the smells.) I love to people watch, dog watch, baby watch, duck watch. We luckily have pretty decent weather here most of the year so almost everyday I can do what I love. Nature, sun, fresh air... it clears my head and invigorates me... but more important than that it's fun and that makes me want to do it. It's my daily treat to me. My local park is the place I walk the most. I love the beach too (sand is a great calf workout) but the beach is an hour drive away so not feasible every day. When it rains or is too cold I head for the mall (leave your purse in the car or it can turn into an expensive $ walk)
Check out TrailLink.com to find walking trails in your neighborhood. Also check with your city's community services department. My town puts out this great free brochure that lists all the walking trails. I stumbled on the brochure when I went to the city hall for a free health fair. I had no idea we had so many trails in my town or that they gave out a super cool free map of them all (Props to Temecula, CA.)
2. Visit the Library - I was amazed at how many exercise DVDs they have... Jillian Michaels, Zumba, Leslie Sansone (my fav.) Borrowing DVDs from the library is a great way to change up your workout when you hit those (normal) stalls. I don't know about you but I get sick of hearing the same voice over and over, especially the cheery ones. You are dying, sweaty, panting and some chick who hasn't broken a sweat is all... "Woo Hoo isn't this great? Come on, let's do 8 more!" Thankfully just as I am about to lose my mind and hurl my TV across the room, it's time to return it. This is a great way to try before you buy too. Before you drop $80 bucks on that Zumba set only to realize you have 2 left feet, check it out at the library.
3. The Internet - YouTube is more than funny kitty and baby videos you can find an excellent collection of exercise, fitness, and dance workout videos, reviews and instruction just a few clicks away. Just type exercise or cardio or some keyword like that in the search box. Many are personal trainers sharing their knowledge for free. There's some good stuff. There's some crazy stuff too but I figure if I'm sweating it's doing some good. Be careful when you first start (standard disclaimer chat with your Dr) I love FitnessBlender YouTube videos. There are some great Yoga ones too.
4. Free Stuff - People have to move and that Tony Little Gazelle or Total Gym that has been covered with clothes in the corner of the bedroom or garage now needs to go. Check freecycle.org, craigslist, Pennysaver/newspaper columns, local Facebook groups, etc... for people getting rid of exercise and sports equipment. Bonus: it's environmentally friendly! You could also drive around early on trash day, practically every week I see something, last week it was a stationary bike. Be sure to check it all out and ask the owner if it's working properly before taking it home. You wouldn't want to get on a treadmill that won't stop and your 2 mile run becomes a 26 mile marathon.
5. Dance - This one is my favorites because you won't even feel like you're exercising. Just turn on some tunes and shake your groove thing. Before you know it you will be sweating and burning oodles of calories. Before I sat down to write this I busted-a-move to The Go-Go's "We Got The Beat." I love Music Choice on my DirectTV or Spotify.com where I have created a playlist of songs I like to dance to. If you have little whippersnappers they'll love this too. Chicken Dance anyone?!
Dance 3-4 songs = 10 minutes do this 3 times a day (before breakfast, mid-day or before dinner, and before bed) and boom you have a 30 minute workout done.
Other $$$ Money Saving Posts:
WLS on the cheap
Lotsa Love for Leftovers
Article I wrote for Your Weight Matters Magazine: Online Resources for Health, Fitness and Wellness with lots of FREE ideas.