Physical fitness is key to living a happy, healthy life. Beyond maintaining a healthy weight, staying active can also help ward off depression and anxiety and lead to better sleep.
If you want to get moving this year but you’re worried about the cost, here’s some good news: You don’t need to buy expensive equipment or join a pricey boutique gym to get fit. There are lots of ways to get into an exercise routine without blowing your budget.
Here are a few ways you can create a budget-friendly plan to improve your fitness.
1. Start moving for free.
One of the quickest ways to get moving that doesn’t cost a dime is jogging or walking around your neighborhood or hiking at a nearby trail. Although enjoying the great outdoors is free, be sure to invest in a supportive pair of shoes to help prevent injuries—and don’t forget to warm up and stretch before your workout!
If you can’t get outside, YouTube is full of free workouts from yoga flows to strength and cardio training. Many workouts don’t require any equipment at all—all you need is your body weight, enough space to move around and an internet connection. You can search for specific classes or check out this list of workouts from around the web, including videos for kids.
2. Build an affordable home gym.
Ready to elevate your fitness routine beyond outdoor workouts and bodyweight exercises? Pick up a few affordable pieces of equipment to take your exercises to the next level.
Resistance bands, hand weights and an exercise mat are affordable basics that don’t take up much space. The National Academy of Sports Medicine also shares detailed tips on how to build a home gym on a budget under $75, under $200, or on a larger budget if you’d like to invest in larger equipment.
3. Keep subscriptions and gym memberships in check.
Whether you work out at home or at the gym, the cost of fitness studio memberships and virtual workouts adds up quickly.
If you subscribe to online workout platforms, keep a log of how often you use your subscriptions. If you’re paying $30 a month for a workout that you only do once a month, is it worth it? Or could you cancel that subscription and save money?
Consolidate your subscriptions so that you only pay for the workouts you truly enjoy and use the most. Also be sure to take advantage of free trials before you commit to a new fitness subscription.
If you’re motivated by the camaraderie of group workouts but you have sticker shock at the price of boutique studios, look into affordable alternatives. Many community rec centers offer yoga, barre, dance and other fitness classes for a fraction of the cost of private studios.