It’s hard to get motivated to get in shape, stay active and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. Throw in the hefty cost of a gym membership and it can seem hopeless. Rather than forking over cash to a gym you’re not even sure you want to join, consider these free or cheap ways you can easily stay in shape and feel great.
1. Get the whole family involved: Make your quality family time active by exercising together. This could mean going for a long walk or jog, shooting hoops, playing tag at the park, or even just playing together on the playground. [More from Manilla.com: 3 Ways to Get Fit Without Breaking the Bank]
2. Start a walking or jogging meetup group: There’s nothing better than exercising with others because it motivates you and keeps staying in shape fun. Start a group at meetup.com for jogging or walking to get others involved. It’s a free way to stay connected with people interested in staying active, make new friends, and stay in shape.
3. Create exercise goals with co-workers: Grab your team at work and encourage them to join in on your health kick. Instead of going to lunch together, hit the sidewalk to go on a 30-minute walk or jog (free!). (Don’t forget to have a healthy lunch after, though!) Or, hit the pavement after work instead of going to happy hour. Take turns creating and leading different workouts for each other. For example, on Mondays, you decide you should jog two miles and lead three sets of 25 jumping jacks. On Wednesdays, your co-worker could lead 60-second jog/walk intervals and three sets of 25 crunches. Take turns bringing in healthy snacks for the team. [More from Manilla.com: How to Green Your Workout]
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4. Look for donation-based yoga studios: Do research in your area for donation-based yoga studios, which often offer low-cost mat rentals and ask you to donate whatever you can. Check your city’s Department of Parks and Recreation website for free or discounted exercise classes in your area.
5. Opt for a treadmill desk: Leverage all hours of the day for exercise. If you work from home, consider buying a treadmill desk. If you don’t, talk to your boss to see if it’s something the company might allow. Although treadmill desks can start at around $480, it’s something that you may be using for months or years to come, allowing the overall price to ultimately be less than spending money on a monthly gym membership. [More from Manilla.com: Why Sitting is Slowly Killing Us]
6. Browse used exercise equipment: Check Craigslist, eBay and other discount sites for used exercise equipment that’s still in good condition. By investing in a piece of equipment like a treadmill or elliptical machine, you can easily exercise at home when it’s too cold to be outside and you won’t need to spend money on a gym membership.
Tips provided by Sarah Kaufman, the editor-in-chief of The Manilla Folder at Manilla.com, the leading free and secure service that helps consumers simplify and organize all of their bills and household accounts in one place online or via the 4-plus-star customer-rated mobile apps. Sarah is also a regular contributor to Yahoo! Finance, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, Redbook, The Motley Fool and other sites. For more budget-friendly health and fitness advice, visit The Manilla Folder.