Low Cost Ways To Stay Active and Fit

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“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”  – Plato

Fitness can be had free

Stop thinking you need a gym membership to get and stay fit, that’s a copout.

  • if you have a pair of shoes, go for a walk
  • if you have running shoes, go for a run.
  • hiking shoes/boots, go for a hike
  • a bicycle, go for a ride.
  • a jump rope, get off the couch and start using it.

More fitness ideas that can be had for free are push-ups, sit-ups (crunches), pull-ups, calisthenics, running stairs, working in the yard, playing with your kids, jumping, dancing, swimming, and even making love.

Be creative and have fun

One of my biggest pet peeves is the approach that you need to pay membership fees and run a treadmill to stay fit. Phooey. Be creative and have fun with your exercise . . . I promise you’ll be more likely to stick to it.

Go to the park with your kids and throw a frisbee or a boomerang. Take your dog out for a run or a walk. Call your local high school and ask them if they have open gym or open swimming. Contact your library and other local resources to see if there are hiking/walking/swimming/running/whatever groups that get together every week to get fit.

Catch up on the outdoor honey-do-list, get your kids to help, and make it fun. Have competitions with friends and family to see who can do more jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups (or whatever activity you’re doing). A crowd pleaser is the hula hoop; grab one and see who in the family can keep it going the longest.

Long story short . . . think outside the box, be creative, and have fun with your fitness. You’ll save money and be more likely to persist.

Invest in your fitness

While fitness can be had for free, there are a few low cost, all-purpose purchases that can take you to the next level; think of them as investments in your health and well-being.

Here are a few inexpensive, high function items to invest in:

  • a good pair of cross-training shoes – they’re an economical choice that allow you to buy a single pair of athletic shoes for a variety of uses.
  • kettlebell – will tone the entire body by building both strength and stability at the same time. Kettlebell workouts engage multiple muscle groups at once and are a great option for getting a whole body workout in a short time.
  • jump rope – will help you loose weight, tone muscle, and increase cardiovascular fitness . . . all for a really low price – I bet you can’t go for 5 minutes.
  • A medicine ball – whether you throw it, catch it, run with it, or do sit-ups with it a medicine ball is a great all-purpose fitness investment that works your core and entire body.
  • A heavy bag – is a great way to work your entire body while relieving stress and having fun.
  • A rebounder – a good rebounder is a great investment; they tone and shape your entire body from the inside out and are great for indoor fitness during cold winters. I bought Betsy one of these a few years back and she still loves it.

Investing in these, and/or similar all-purpose fitness items will help you get in good shape and stay there so you can save money on things like health care.

Remember, your fitness is an investment.

Fitness promotes healthy eating

When you sit on the couch all day watching TV you’ll crave pizza and chips – trust me, I’ve been there.

But . . . if you get outside and do something active everyday you will crave healthier foods. Fitness and activity help your cravings bend toward healthier options. Your body will desire foods that give it the proper type of energy to keep doing more of what you’re doing. If you treat your body properly it will yearn for healthier food.

I dare you to try this and prove me wrong.

Save on healthcare

I mentioned this earlier but it deserves more attention.

As you work fun fitness activities into your everyday life you will begin eating better, feeling better, and looking better because you will be healthier. When you’re healthier you go to the doctor less. When you go to the doctor less you take less prescription drugs. When you take less drugs you avoid their side effects and save money.

I encourage you to budget more money toward healthy groceries and fitness, and less toward the doctor.

In closing

Start treating your physical fitness with creativity by doing what you enjoy and having fun with it. Include loved ones and don’t be afraid to invest in a couple all-purpose tools that break your waistline but not your budget.

Never forget that when it comes to fitness the gym is optional but the good health of you and your family are not!


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1 Kevin @ SpringCoin

Well said Matt. It would be interesting to do a survey about what people do at the gym, as in what type of equipement they use. I’m sure the majority uses treadmills/ellipticals, which is kinda nonsense to pay $30+/month.

2 Young

Couldn’t agree with this post more! Investing in your health now will save you from hefty long term medical bills in the future.

3 R S

Kevin @ SpringCoin I have most of the items Matt mentioned at home, and I don’t use them. I could, but I don’t. There’s something to be said about the benefit of being surrounded by like-minded people, it’s encouraging.
2 years ago, I landed myself in 6 months of physical therapy due to my sedentary job. I tried the home use/get more fresh air route, and it simply did not work for me. I had to tweak my budget to get the gym membership, but even for 2 years of membership, it’s still under 10% of the cost I spent in PT & associated medical costs.
Disclaimer: I’m a $30/month treadmill user at the gym. 😉

4 kathleen

Oh, and get a pullup bar.

5 Matt Jabs

Oh yeah, great addition!

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