Ask the Readers: How Do You Exercise Frugally?

By Ashley Jacobs on 13 November 2012 (Updated 20 November 2012) 76 comments
Photo: Iamataman

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Saul, Eric, and Debra for winning this week's contest!

Most people make it a point to exercise at least a few times a week. Heading to the gym keeps you healthy and can end up saving you money. But with gym memberships often being a bit too expensive, sometimes people have to find ways to stay fit without breaking the bank.

How do you exercise frugally? Do you work out at home? Run outside? Ride your bike? Did you negotiate a good deal on a gym membership? Or is trying to keep up with your kids exercise enough?

Tell us how you exercise frugally and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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Guest's picture
Kate

I used to belong to a gym, and while it was extremely helpful in getting me to reach my weight loss goals, the financial outlay just wasn't sustainable over the long term. I've taken my new-found love of running outside, and it's been great. I've gotten to know my neighborhood better, and I get some sun and fresh air too!

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Kelli B

I exercise at home. I've purchased a couple of workout DVDs in my lifetime, but have since found numerous free workouts online and will no longer pay for fitness. It just seems silly when there are so many free options available.

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Tyler

I workout through exercises that do not require equipment such as push-ups, sit-ups, ect.

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Candice C.

I do strength and core training at home, go on daily long walks with the dog, work out/take group exercise classes at my university, and take advantage of free week passes at local gyms.

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Natalie

I have a resistance band for home workouts. I also do a lot of body weight exercises so I'm not constrained to the gym. Especially handy for those busy weeks!

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Brenda Faulkner

The YWCA is always a frugal option - good hours and plenty of locations.

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Christie

If I'm exercising at home, I run in my basement. 30 minutes of running around the staircase in my basement is boring, but losing the 40 pounds I did was worth it!! We also have an indoor walking/running track at our local community college that we use in the 6 months of cold weather we have here. In the "warm" weather, we have walking and biking trails all over our city and we use them frequently!

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KelR1

I walk my two Jack Russell Terriers outdoors. Totally necessary and totally free!

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Rebecca M

I search for free exercise videos on YouTube, using GoogleTV, and then do the workouts within the privacy of my own living room. It's too cold outside to exercise!

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Betty

I walk in the mall before work. They open early for walkers. It's safe and climate controlled. I can window shop and not spend money.

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Michelle

I run with my dog!

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Christine

I walk outside--rain or shine. I also ride my bike. I practice yoga at the park district instead of an expensive yoga studio, and in the winter, I ice skate at free outdoor rinks. My fiance and I do strength training exercises at home, which do not require any equipment except an exercise mat. I'm so happy I don't have a gym membership anymore!

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I got rid of my car. You can't help but exercise when you don't have an internal combustion engine to get you around.

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Carol D

I belonged to the Y for years - the monthly fee got to be too much, then did Jazzercise - again a monthly fee. Then, my sister-in-law gave me one of Jillian Michael's workout DVD "30 Day Shred" and a set of small weights for my birthday (at my request). The workout DVD has 3 levels, so when I get bored I switch to a different workout. Also, since it was a gift, I feel more obligated to "use" the gift and stick to do the workouts regularly.

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steph

i hike outside or mall walk in winter!

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Rebecca B. A. R.

I walk my two dogs all over our little town.

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Mary-Elsye Winchester

I go to my local high school's track. You can do stadiums and speed work and other exercises like lunges for free

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Therese

I walk 3.5 miles to work each day. I also save gas money as well as parking fees.

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Emily

At my gym, some people can get their membership for free if they work in certain careers, so my husband and I get two gym memberships for the price of one!

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Mel

I have an exercise bike. It had an upfront cost but no monthly fee.

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Joan

I live in a retirement community with a required annual fee that includes all of the recreation centers in my city. I can use the fitness centers, play miniature golf, or go bowling to get exercise. All of which I use depending on my mood.

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Elizabeth

I actually bought two Jillian Michaels workout videos on amazon on demand with an amazon gift card I had!

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Trezlen

I have a collection of workout videos and gear for whenever inspiration strikes. My apartment complex has a small fitness room. And, I live within 2 miles of work so I can walk or bike when the weather is good.

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I have a treadmill at home, and I also jump rope in the garage every other day!

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Jackie B

I love working out for free outdoors especially hiking, biking and running. I use this website to find beautiful local hikes where I can do all of these activities:
http://www.localhikes.com/Default.asp

Also, the webpage says Orange County, Los Angeles, and Riverside but it will display all local hikes for any zipcode you enter!

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Patrick

Going for a run, doing light strength training at the house and watching free exercise videos on the on-demand cable channel are all free. The trick is to motivate myself to do them more often.

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Amber Storck

I walk my dog 2 miles a day and do Zumba from DVD's that my friend gave me.

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Denise

Spinning at the cycle park 2x a week after work and mountainbiking during the weekends. I push myself to walk (20-30mins) to the train station instead of taking a 3 min. cab. to and from work. It's not perfect but I'm getting better!

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Rusty

I walk about 5 miles a day for exercise. I also use the stairs instead of the elevator.

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Kelly H

I workout at home--running on the treadmill while watching shows I've missed on Hulu.com. No more gym memberships, no more babysitters, no more having to rent movies.

I also visit a local running store to get fitted for new shoes, but then I'll head online to purchase them, usually through zappos.com. I got my last pair of Mizunos ($140 in store) for less than $100 on zappos.

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Sarah

Yoga mat, hand weights and fitness DVDs that my sister and I share and swap back and forth at holidays.

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Kathleen S.

I regularly walk my dog around our rather large block--that makes up the bulk of my exercise. I also enjoy walking (about 1.5 miles each way) from our house to the center of our charming suburban town. Running up and down the stairs with baskets of laundry and carrying heavy bags of book up and down the stairs at work adds a little to my admittedly pretty easy exercise regime. Oh, and I do yoga once in a while. So am I frugal or just lazy? Good thing I'm skinny anyway...

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Guest

I walk or bike everywhere. I occasionally use my city's public transportation, but it still required walking to get to the stations, etc. On the weekends for fun I go hiking with friends or for a walk through the park. At home I keep a pair of small weights.

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MAM

I use my bike everyday to go to work. In addition, I go to an indour public (free) swimming pool. They have adult sessions eveyday starting at 7pm. I go there with a friend to stay motivated. We swim and go to the free sauna where we are having interesting discussion with people that we meet every time we go there.

Then I bike, swim and relax (sauna) almost everyday and all this is free!

Guest's picture

My wife and I used to belong to a gym. At some point we may go back, but we have an excercise bike that I bought during a health and wellness benefit at my old job offered to pay up to 400 dollars for anything that would promote health and wellness. Beyond that, my wife runs, I walk downtown on my lunch breaks, and if it's too cold, then we use the bike inside.

My dad always told me "The sidewalk's always free."

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Michelle Murphy

I purchased a good quality treadmill which I paid cash for and have used it while watching tv. I also take the stairs regularly (9 floors) at work both up and down. Pretty good workout and breaks up the day.

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Walk at least 2.5 miles a day or about 10,000 steps. Park at the lowest/highest part of the garage and take the steps. Take steps at your work building. Climb 25 stories a day. 15-25 minutes of simple resistance exercise using your own body. Legs: squats, lunge (backwards and side), crunches/sit ups, "swimmers". Upper body: push ups, seated dips, "let me ins". All of these you can do any where without equipment.

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NJJ

I usually walk around the block or go for a nature walk If the weather isn't too bad then I usually pack a picnic too.

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Jason

I run and bike (free) for now. Its getting cold nowso I am thinking of joining our gym at work which is $10 a month. I also do situps / pushups / etc. at home to build strength.

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Jillian

I sporadically work out with a Leslie Sansone DVD I got about 7 years ago, but I recently found out the community center down the street has a workout room - and a monthly pass is only $10! Far cheaper than a membership to the Y... now I just have to get down there to find out their hours!

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Natalie

Although it's driven by the fact that none of the gyms around here have child care, I still save a lot of money working out at home. I've found that I'm not quite self-motivated enough to do my own workouts, so I use a few workout DVDs. Having several different types of DVD workouts to choose from gives me enough variety without having to go out and buy new ones all the time.

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CC'S MOM

I either use my old dvd's (exercise doesn't go out of style!), or look on YouTube for workouts. They even have workouts on OnDemand. I figure I'm already paying for cable, I may as well get GOOD use of it!

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sonja adams

I do a combination of things, but I cancelled my gym membership and tivo'd all the channels that had workout shows on them so I have an endless selection of videos from yoga, to stretching to weight workouts and cardio. For added cardio I hike and bike

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Guest

I use video dvd, do some yoga, some core, and some leg strengthening. And sometimes I just dance with pandora radio.

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cynthia rafler

I have a mini trampoline that I dance & bounce on while I watch TV. I garden. I ride a bicycle. I love to walk and hike. I would love to have the Amazon gift card to buy a Medicine Ball.

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I exercise along to videos on Hulu.com. I already pay $8 for the service. Why not use it to get off the couch?!

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Sara Levasseur

Our library system in Pirtland Oregon is awesome. I checked out all of thei Jillian Michaels DVDs and use them a few times a week. I also run one or twice a week, which is pretty inexpensive besides replacing shoes a few times a year. Overall, I exercise 4 to 5 days a week for very little $.

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Michelle

Yes!
My job subsidizes gym membership, so I get to work out in a fancy gym for cheap!

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Melinda G

I work out at home. You can find just about any exercise for any muscle for a home workout on the internet these days. On days where I do not have enough motivation or discipline I will do a workout from my cable OnDemand or one of my work out videos that I have collected over my years of clearance bin shopping and garage sale-ing.

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Happy Love

I do about 30 minutes of exercises as soon as I get up in the morning: a mix of pilates and yoga that alternates strengthening and stretching for the core body muscles.

When I'm a registered college student I use the university pool, and during the summer I buy a $20 water aerobics pass for my local community pool.

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Andrea S.

I run and I bike. From May-October, when it's warm outside, I get my exercise biking to and from work. It's great because in addition to burning calories, I also save money on gas! During the colder part of the year, I run after work. Even though it's dark outside, it gives me a nice boost of energy. Both running and biking are extremely convenient (just go out the front door), and awesomely frugal because I don't have to pay any monthly fees. Woo!

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Judy B.

I have a 100lb. Alaskan Malamute dog that insists that I walk him every morning and every night after dinner. It has to be pretty nasty outside for me to skip this workout with him. He will not easily take "no walk" for an answer!

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Tiffany

I run along the local greenway. I spent $3 on my running clothes (bought at a yard sale) and $60 on last year's model of running shoes.

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Ulla

There are countless cheap ways for a person to stay fit: for my exercise, I walk the dog daily (he lets me know when it is time). Additionally, I exercise with a free class offered at the loal mall (10 min ea. warmup/cooldown, 20 min cardio, 20 min weight/pilates) three times a week (in early am). I also stand on tippy-toes or on one leg, or hold a balance pose waiting in line, work with stretch bands on legs or arms while watching TV, and am writing this comment sitting and fidgeting on a balance ball.

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Elena

I like running. It's a good exercise and it's free

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Lynda

i go running around the block, park, or school

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Channing

Have a couple of friends chip in for some workout videos. You can pass them around and for only about $5.00 you can workout to five videos or so. I personally love Zumba and Hip Hop Abs! Also incorporate a walk around the neighborhood a couple of times a week.

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Guest

I own three dogs--small, medium, and large--and they insist that I walk them at least two miles every day of the week. I do this frugally, as do my dogs. It's great exercise for all of us. If I do it right, they don't bug me for several hours ... until it's time for our next walk. All three are field dogs, so we all head out to the fields for our walks.

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Summer

I like to work out in our community pool. I also like to walk the neighborhood.

Guest's picture

Recently I've started using body resistance exercises only. I was reading a couple of things that brought me to this approach. The first was the observation that 3 key behaviors led to permanent weight loss, more so than others: eating breakfast every day, weighing in every day, and working out at home. That combined with a book from Mark Lauren (The Bodyweight Exercise Bible) and the fact that he used such an approach training military special operators (he was USAF combat control) was enough evidence to get me to try it. The advantage is that I always have what I need, wherever I am.

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emily

Instead of going to the gym I workout outside (i know, a crazy idea). But when I do want to take a class I find deals on Groupon or other local deal sites--I just got a discounted race entry fee through one, and got 10 yoga classes for $30!

For gear, I go to consignment shops, and flash sale sites like Backcountry, and Theclymb (my favorite)--you get brand new equipment for way cheaper than retail prices.

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kristina

I walk everywhere

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Maura

I walk to and from work. It's healthy, saves me money, and helps the environment.

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Nancy

I love the outdoors so I walk, bike and hike on a regular basis. Not only is it free, I enjoy it so it makes it much easier to keep on going.

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Terri

I use different DVD's, walk and run. In the winter I turn the heat down some and will get up and do some lunges to warm me up if needed.

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Saul

I excercise daily every morning by using my bicycle for 5 miles in a bike trail around a lake near a farm or jog 3 miles. After jogging and being all heated up I begin doing sit ups and push ups as much as I can. I sometimes do weight lifting but recently have focused on working on middle abs to get a six pack

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Alex H

Who needs a gym? I have only the most basic equipment: a pull-up bar, a kettlebell, a few resistance bands, gloves and some comfortable clothes & shoes. I bike to work (which I think might be the ultimate frugal fitness tip), and waste money on empty calories (junk food really IS expensive).

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Ashley

I personally try to go for a run every night, or play some sort of team sport. Although I do live in an area that has a nice year round climate which definitely helps.

Guest's picture

When I lived in town, I got extra exercise by walking to the post office every day to mail my packages out -- I had my son in his stroller, and we'd walk around town afterwards. Now that we're in the country, I miss doing that -- the roads are too busy to walk on safely. At the moment, my exercise consists of picking up after everyone...lol...

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rebecca ryan

I volunteer to take kids on hikes and campouts..(believe me this can be a real workout)
Since it is easier for me to be active with someone else along...a few friends & I meet every am durring the week to walk around the highschool track or the park. We started slow as we all needed to lose weight and get in shape.
My whole family walks to the liberary each week (over 2 miles round trip) except if it's over 100 (we live in Florida) or raining hard.
I take us to as many fair, festival, and special outtings as I can, as the family is having so much fun, they don't realize they are getting fit in the process!!!
Around once a month we have a service day where we go rake leaves, mow lawns, clean up yards, wash cars etc..for the elderly neighbors...
Just put fun in excersize and it won't be a chore...just something you'll look forward to!

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Eric

I have a very inexpensive gym membership ($25/month). I do also have a rowing machine at home I use sometimes.

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Debra K

I signed up for my gym membership when it was at a savings of $4 a month. Then I pre-paid for a 12-month membership, which also got me an extra 6 months free. The gym meets all my basic needs at a much cheaper cost than many other gyms nearby. The gym is a little greater distance away from my home, but the savings is worth it.

In addition, I have some basic cheap equipment and workout DVDs at home for times I want to mix things up or can't make it to the gym.

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Guest

Walk and yoga

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Jenn

I found a nice trail near our new house, and use it for jogging and walking the dog. It's on a hill, which makes it more work than just a flat road. Plus the scenery keeps it interesting.

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DeeDee

Love to walk outside and have a treadmill for when it is too cold, snowy or icy out.

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Guest

A swim at the public pool costs $2 for parking. There are free Zumba lessons in plenty of parks. Also walking the dogs and riding my bike are free.