You can save money by canceling your gym membership and finding fun and free ways to work out. Working out at home using what you have or workout videos from a streaming service can be just as beneficial. Going for a walk, jogging, or running outdoors is great exercise as well. Hiking, biking, and swimming are other great things you can do outdoors. Create a workout routine or join a team to find motivation and accountability.

If you are looking to save money but keep in or get in shape, try these four great ways to workout, get motivated, and keep at it even when you aren’t going to the gym.

Work Out at Home

Working out at home is easier now than ever. You can buy a workout DVD or find a workout video online. Then, you can use what you learned from the gym to do all kinds of things.

Here are just a few things you can do at home with little or no equipment.

  • Stair climbing (if you have stairs).
  • Push-ups, crunches, and other stretches.
  • Walking.
  • Marching.
  • Jumping jacks.
  • Jumping rope.
  • Squats.
  • And more!

You can use a chair if you need help with the squats. All you do is sit down and get up. Do it ten times and take a quick break. Then, do 10 more. Once that becomes easy, do 20 or 30 sit-stands before taking a break.

You can use the wall or a counter to help with push-ups. Build up your strength, and you’ll be able to do them on the ground in no time.

You can weight lift anything heavy you have on hand. Books, groceries, heavy jugs of milk (or water), and more can be used as improvised weights. You can also purchase weights if you prefer. You’ll still spend less than you would on a gym membership.

Workout Videos

The internet is full of workout videos. You can find them on Amazon, YouTube, and more. In addition, you can search using Google, Yahoo, or MSN for whatever workout you are looking for. Most are free, but some require subscriptions or payments.

Apps available on tablets and phones also have workout videos. As with online videos, some will be free, some will require payment, and some may require a monthly fee like a gym. When choosing a paid one, make sure they have a free trial period. You don’t want to pay for something if you don’t end up using it.

Some great app options include:

  • Peloton.
  • FitOn.
  • Seven: Home Workouts.
  • Simply Yoga.

Get Outdoors

If the weather is nice, head outdoors even if the weather isn’t so nice. If you don’t mind a little rain or wind, head outside. Of course, if you aren’t into bad weather, you can always work out at home (see above) or go for a walk indoors at a mall or community center.

There are tons of free things you can do to stay in shape. Check out local parks and any place where you can get some great outdoor exercise in. Ask around and find out where the best hiking and biking spots are located.

Run, Walk, and Jog Your Way to Health

Whether you are running, jogging, or walking, getting outside is good for your health. So instead of spending money on a gym membership so you can use the walking machines or ellipticals, why not go for a nice walk in the park.

No matter where you live, there are bound to be plenty of parks and walking trails to use. You can even walk down the street and back. So take a trip downtown and walk down each side of the street.

If you want to go jogging or running, you might want to avoid downtown, but a park or your neighborhood is a great place.

Suppose the weather gets a nasty head to your local community center or a covered ball court to jog or run. For walking, consider heading to the nearest mall.

Some other fun places to get your steps in and go walking are:

  • Local zoo.
  • An aquarium.
  • The art museum.

These all take a few hours but are great for a fun weekend exercise activity.


Why pay gym fees to use their bicycle? You stay in place and don’t get to see anything. Why not get a bike and ride it around town? Why not head to a local, state, or national park and ride your bike?

If you are devoted to riding that bike in place, consider if you want one of your own at home. Sure, the original price is a hefty one. However, after a year or two of use, it will more than make up for its cost in gym membership savings.

Bikes are a great way to get exercise. If you don’t like riding on busy streets, head out of town to the backroads. It is always a good idea to find someone to go with you. Groups of bicycles are hard to miss, and there is safety in numbers.


Head out for a hike and soak in some nature. There are plenty of great hikes near you, whether you know about them or not. Head to your local library or Barnes and Noble, or head online, and look up the hiking trails near you.

Hiking is great exercise, and it cost absolutely nothing. The only fees even remotely related to hiking would be the cost of good hiking boots and a possible parking fee if you head into a State or National Park.

You can go hiking alone or in a group. Try to visit every hiking trail in your area. Start with the easy ones if you are starting. If you are an experienced hiker, you’ve probably been to them before. Maybe it’s time to head a little further away and try something new?


Swimming is a great exercise, and it is accessible to the joints and the body. Of course, you can go swimming at a gym but look into the local swimming pools if you want to save money. Even better, investigate local lakes and parks to see if swimming is available.

Swimming may be more of summer weather, but don’t let that stop you. Instead, swim indoors in the wintertime. Some pools offer monthly memberships, which are cheaper than some gym memberships.

If swimming in the wintertime isn’t your thing, you can swim in the summer and try one of the other great things on this list in the wintertime.

Workout Routines

People pay for gyms because they feel guilty if they don’t go and are hoping to pay money for it will inspire them to go and get healthy (or stay healthy). However, you can create your accountability by building a workout routine. 

Day of the Week Activity
Monday Walk three miles before work
Tuesday Stretches and strength training after work
Wednesday Walk three miles before work
Thursday Dance Workout after work
Friday Walk three miles before work
Saturday Walking club
Sunday Afternoon hike

Your schedule will look different. To create a schedule, you first need to determine how much time you have available each day. Once you know that, pick activities that you can fit into that time.

Let’s say you only have time increments of 15-20 minutes throughout the day (instead of the 1-1.5 hours it would take to walk 3 miles). Then pick an activity you could do in 15-20 minutes. For example, you can do stretches, weightlifting, dance, stair climbing, etc. There are plenty of things you can do even if you only have 5 minutes.

Join a Team

If you still need help keeping yourself accountable, join a group or team. They have groups and teams for everything. For example, join a sports team and play basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, football, hockey, and more.

Join a bicycle group or team and go out with them on the weekends. Then, if you bike during the week, check in with them and let them know how you are doing.

Walking groups, jogging groups, and running groups can be found on websites like Meetup. You can also find groups for kayaking, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, or whatever else you are into.

If a group doesn’t sound like the correct answer, try for a buddy. Find one or two friends who are willing to check in with you each week or a couple of times a week to see how you are doing.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are into outdoor or indoor activities, there is plenty to do without requiring a gym membership. So don’t let that gym membership hang over your head and make you feel guilty. Don’t force yourself to go if you don’t enjoy it. Instead, get out there and find something you want to do.

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